Premier League • England

Arsenal star names trait crucial to recent fortunes inspired by Arteta training

Arsenal's Ben White during The Mind Series match at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium

Arsenal defender Ben White has said that he has grown to relish the art of defending and keeping clean sheets since his summer transfer.

The 24-year-old moved to the Gunners from Brighton following long-term interest in him. He has grown to become an important figure in the back line, despite his slow start.

Indeed, he struggled in his Arsenal Premier League debut, the 2-0 loss to Brentford at the start of the season.

White then tested positive for coronavirus, but has played every minute of the last four matches. The Gunners have kept three clean sheets and won three of those ties.

Speaking to Sky Sports News, the England international opened up on his progression in north London.

“The first game didn’t go very well,” White said. “Then I got Covid and missed two games.

“Then we were straight back in and that’s where we picked up.”

White may have moved to London for a big fee of £50million, but he did not feel that he was moving to a big club.

“I don’t think adapting to a big club [was a reason for my slow start],” he added.

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“It didn’t feel like a big club when I came here. Everyone is so nice and welcoming.

Clean sheets are the aim for the team. I don’t think it’s just the back four and goalie that keep a clean sheet – it’s the whole team. It’s come into my game since I’ve been at Arsenal – the love of defending and keeping a clean sheet.”

White earned his move to Arsenal after a solid season with Brighton.

He had reintegrated there following his impressive loan spell in the Championship with Leeds in 2019/20.

White makes Patrick Vieira admission

Patrick Vieira shouts during West Ham vs Crystal Palace, August 2021

The centre-back wears the number four shirt at Arsenal, the same one former Gunners midfielder Patrick Vieira did.

The Frenchman is now manager of Crystal Palace – Monday’s opponents for Arsenal – but White admitted that he does not know much about Vieira’s playing days.

Football is so intense,” he said. “You come in every day giving 100 per cent. All I want to do is go home and not think about it, then come in in the morning fresh and ready to give 100 per cent again.

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“I watch myself for analytical reasons. I watch England, maybe, but I’m always busy doing something. I wouldn’t just sit down and watch a game.

“I didn’t ever watch football when I was younger. I still don’t now. I just loved the game, I was always playing it, never watching.

“So I don’t know too much about the older generations, but I know Vieira was a very good player. But I don’t know the details.”

Arsenal’s recent rise has seen them move up to 11th in the Premier League table.

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