Arsenal star Ben White leaves Mikel Arteta stunned as boss hails 'extraordinary' defender

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Mikel Arteta believes that Ben White can be ‘extraordinary’ – and the Arsenal manager admits he has been knocked out by the way the 23-year-old has handled his £50 million move.

Gunners defender White, unlucky to be left out of England’s squad for their World Cup qualifiers against Andorra and Hungary which was announced on Thursday, goes back to the club where his career ignited on Saturday night – Brighton.

White’s Arsenal career, after his £50m July move, started uncertainly as the Gunners lost their opening three games.

But last Sunday in the north London derby, the England defender showed his real pedigree as he completely snuffed out Tottenham icon Harry Kane.

The Arsenal manager goes into the game with his team on a run of three straight league wins, against an impressive Brighton side lying sixth in the table.

Arteta said: “We bought Ben because we believe that he can be extraordinary.

“I’ve been very impressed with how he handles the pressure, the situation of coming through the Euros, the big fee, the composure he shows.

“He still doesn’t have that much experience in the league, he is not mature in that sense – but he is already shown his qualities.

“He has been selected for the national team which is not a coincidence, and the way he has adapted is impressive. The potential is there.

“Now it is how he can fulfil that. Ben knows he will be asked questions in this league, because it is one of the most demanding positions to play. At the moment he is doing it.”

White’s ability on the ground and his ability to play long passes out of defence has already given Arsenal another dimension this season.

But Arteta warned: “He has to defend first – do everything we have asked him to do defensively.

“But we bought Ben because he has that ability to break lines. He has that composure to make the right decision. But first of all he needs to defend, and he is doing that really well.”



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