Ben White’s ‘non gung-ho’ movements, from 0:19 – 6:43
2. Full-back’s form
Former Arsenal striker, Kevin Campbell, described White as “not gung-ho” after the Manchester City victory, and this phrase is crucial when understanding White’s consistency on the flank. Feeling confident with the elite players he is surrounded by, White often wins the ball back from an interception and then releases to a better offensive teammate.
This reliability increases trust from players around him, so they can focus on their performance and the spaces they are occupying instead of White’s. This also limits defensive errors in the Arsenal backline, as no player has to be concerned about White’s defensive insufficiencies. His teammates’ trust in him makes sense, as Arsenal’s ‘Mr Dependable’ hasn’t lost a game which he has started this season.
His form is also beneficial to Arsenal’s skipper, Martin Ødegaard. The pair have a good relationship, and Ødegaard’s riskier playstyle is often supported by White, who has the ability to make up for his captain’s errors. White’s desire to play short and quick passes also means that the Norwegian can anticipate the ball arriving to him quickly when he has found a small pocket of space.
Due to the defender’s reliability and confidence he has in himself, as White grows older, he could become the perfect mentor to struggling players or youngsters. When the Englishman was younger, he used to be ‘very up and down emotionally’, but after maturing in his footballing years, he can now control his emotional state in a better way. The likes of David Luiz and Bukayo Saka have been praised for their care of younger teammates, and as he grows older, White could be the next mentor to help the younger players.
Continued on the next slide…