Ben White has confessed to struggling in the early stages of his move to Arsenal but credited those at the club for helping keep him positive.
White’s £50m transfer from Brighton attracted plenty of ridicule and the jokes only intensified after his debut, in which he was overwhelmed by Brentford’s Ivan Toney as Arsenal fell to a shock 2-0 defeat.
He then missed his side’s next two games, defeats to both Chelsea and Manchester City, after testing positive for Covid-19, but White has since bounced back and taken his game to a new level, earning himself a spot in Gareth Southgate’s latest England squad.
“The start of the season was tough,” he said (via The Times). “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.
“It was hard to get started; it wasn’t the start I wanted but, coming through the season now, I’m playing every week, the team is doing really well and it’s very positive.”
White’s performance against Brentford was slated by fans and pundits alike, with Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville not holding back on their coverage of the game.
“I think it was the first time I’ve actually been singled out,” White explained. “It’s never a nice feeling, it’s not very good, but it just gives me more incentive to go out there and play well.
“Some of it you obviously have to look at and see what they’ve said, and some of the stuff [Carragher and Neville] said was true that game. It wasn’t my best. Obviously they’ve had amazing careers and hopefully one day I could have something like that.
“But there are much bigger problems in the world. As long as my family are safe and everyone’s healthy, that is a much bigger issue than not playing so well at the weekend. I’m a big boy. I’ve had criticism the full way through. I’m sure I’ll get it again.”
White went on to thank those around him at Arsenal and England for keeping him upbeat during his tricky start to the season.
“As soon as I went into Arsenal it felt like home and it was so easy to get to know everyone,” he said. “It’s the same here with England. You’ve got no worries about anything else – just come here and do your best.”