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Benjamin White

White admits Neville and Carragher criticism of Arsenal disaster debut hurt: 'It's never a nice feeling'

17:51 IST 25/03/2022
Ben White d'Arsenal pendant le match amical de pré-saison entre Tottenham Hotspur et Arsenal au stade Tottenham Hotspur le 08 août 2021 à Londres, Angleterre.
The defender has emerged as one of the Gunners' standout performers this term following his £50 million ($66m) move to the Emirates Stadium

Ben White admitted criticism from pundits Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher stung after his disaster debut for Arsenal, but the centre-back admits he was aware his performances were not up to his standard.

The defender has emerged as one of the Gunners' standout performers this term following his £50 million ($66m) move to the Emirates Stadium last summer, and has been rewarded once more with a return to the England fold for his performances.

But he struggled on debut against newly promoted Brentford in August, as Mikel Arteta's side lost 2-0, provoking a sharp response from pundits Neville and Carragher - and now the 24-year-old admits that while their words hurt, it has helped drive him on to perform this year.

What has been said?

“I think it was the first time I’ve actually been singled out," White told the Evening Standard. “It’s never a nice feeling. It is not very good, but it just gives me more incentive to go out there and do well. Some of it you have to look at and see what they’ve said, and some of the stuff they said was true.

"That game wasn’t my best. Obviously, they’ve had amazing careers and, hopefully, one day I could have something like that. The start of the season was tough. We had the first game and it wasn’t ideal for me. I didn’t play very well and then I got Covid, so I was out for another two games. You see everything on Twitter and stuff like that. It’s all part of it.

"It’s something I didn’t really dwell on. It didn’t have any impact on me, how I was thinking or how I was playing. I know that I wasn’t good enough at the start of the season and didn’t put in a very good performance. I don’t need anyone to tell me that."

White hails Arsenal team-mates

White was one of four names called up from the Gunners for Gareth Southgate's squad, though he may well be the only one to figure this break after both Aaron Ramsdale and Bukayo Saka were forced to leave camp with injury and illness respectively, while Emile Smith Rowe will miss out Saturday's game with Switzerland.

But the defender was happy to sing the praises of his team-mates, adding: "There are a lot of talented boys in the Arsenal group. With how well they’ve done this season, they all deserve [to be called up].

"Our style of play is nice to play in and is nice to watch. I think we’ve had a really good season. We’re just trying to continue that and see where we go."

Further reading