Arsenal star hits back at Carragher, Neville over early-season ‘weak link’ prediction

Bernd Leno; BenWhite; Rob Holding Arsenal celeb at Villa

Ben White has revealed that it was ‘not a nice feeling’ to be singled out by Sky Sports pundits Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville during the early part of the season.

Arsenal splashed out £50million to beat a host of Premier League rivals to the signing of the Brighton centre-back last summer. However, he endured a debut to forget as the Gunners crashed to a season-opening defeat at Brentford.

Following that game, Carragher and Neville suggested Premier League rivals would view White as a potential weakness in the Arsenal team and could look to target the player throughout the season.

But White has been a massive performer for Mikel Arteta’s men since then. The Gunners are currently fourth in the table, three points clear of north London rivals Tottenham.

And reflecting on his early-season struggles, ahead of England’s friendly with Switzerland, White said: “I think it was the first time I have actually been singled out like that.

“It is not a nice feeling, it is not very good. But it just gave me more incentive to go out there and do well.

“Some of the stuff they said was true in that game – it wasn’t my best. If I thought about it too much or kept listening to it back, it would only affect me. So I just tried to do better.”

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White is now a mainstay of the England squad, although he is finding starts tough to come by.

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He added: “Getting called up shows what I am doing is really paying off. I was at a new club and wanted to start off well but that didn’t happen.

“But I took it game by game, playing as well as I can for Arsenal. The last time I got called up I was straight into a tournament. So to come back in and be part of it again is a really nice feeling.”

While White has been flying in recent months, England regular Harry Maguire been having a tough time at Manchester United.

Another of White’s rivals, Tyrone Mings, has also been in an Aston Villa side that have been shipping goals. But despite that, the Gunners man is still expected to be fourth or maybe even fifth choice behind John Stones and Conor Coady for a Three Lions starting spot.

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