Premier League • England

Michael Owen names most underrated Arsenal star and puzzling snub suggests he’s correct

Pundit Michael Owen

Liverpool legend Michael Owen on punditry duties

Michael Owen labelled an Arsenal player who brings the best out of Bukayo Saka as “underrated”, and a recent high profile snub suggests the pundit has a point.

The likes of Thomas Partey, Martin Odegaard and Bukayo Saka have all received universal acclaim for their mesmeric displays this season.

Arsenal stars will feature heavily in the running for the Player of the Season award and perhaps only the unprecedented goalscoring exploits of Man City’s Erling Haaland can deny a Gunners player scooping that prize.

Mikel Arteta’s men have rightly received lavish praise this term, though according to Michael Owen, one player in particular is not getting the credit he deserves.

Per the ex-Liverpool great, defender Ben White is not only performing to a high standard, but is also a major factor in Saka flourishing as he is.

Speaking to Premier League Productions, Owen said of White and Saka: “That partnership was particularly impressive. That combination play is very important for Arsenal.

“Ben White gets forward, he links the play and has the pace to get back when he needs to.

“There was a lovely moment towards the end of the game [4-1 victory over Crystal Palace] where he made a tackle and was celebrating. I feel he’s a bit of an underrated player for Arsenal at the moment.”

White underrated, though not at Arsenal

White is a centre-half by trade, though has played the entirety of the campaign out of position at right-back.

The 25-year-old has not complained, and instead has proceeded to make himself an undroppable component in what may well be a title-winning team.

He’s ousted the ever-reliable Takehiro Tomiyasu and with the Japan international now injured and Cedric Soares loaned out to Fulham, White’s importance in north London has never been greater.

And while Owen believes White is underrated within the media, he certainly seems to be getting the credit he deserveS from within Arsenal’s ranks.

Indeed, speaking in the aftermath of the 4-1 victory against Palace, double goalscorer Saka said (via the Mirror): “Ben White was incredible today.

“He’s been incredible this season, and we’re building a great partnership – me, him and Martin on that right side.

“Of course, I’m not going to tell you the secrets, what we work on in the training ground, but I’m enjoying playing with them.”

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Ben White snubbed again

Despite his stellar displays this term, White was among the notable absentees from Gareth Southgate’s latest England squad.

Southgate suggested the omission had its roots in White lacking game-time at centre-half this season.

England are notoriously well-stocked at the right-back position where White has played this term. Indeed, Kyle Walker, Kieran Trippier and Reece James all got the nod for the Euro 2024 qualifiers against Italy and Ukraine later this week.

Regardless, Walker has been in and out of Man City’s eleven this year and James has spent as much time injured as fit this term.

England’s loss may well prove Arsenal’s gain with White now embarking on a two-week break ahead of a final charge towards the Premier League title.

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