Nigel Winterburn has plenty of advice for Ben White after the Arsenal defender’s shaky start to life at the Emirates.
Following Arsenal’s decision to spend £50 million on central defender Ben White in the summer window, questions were asked. While the England international’s arrival was praised, many kept wondering if he was worth the fees paid to Brighton. In return, White has endured a shaky start at his new club.
Mikel Arteta wanted to sign White as a replacement for David Luiz. The defender’s ball-playing ability made him a similar prospect to the Brazilian, and while being much younger, represented a long-term option.
However, his form coincided with that of the club’s, as Arsenal suffered three consecutive defeats a the start of the season. However, they have steadied their ship with back-to-back 1-0 victories over Norwich and Burnley, and White played a role in those games.
While he was sturdy against Norwich, White was shaky at best against Burnley, which drew plenty of criticism. His back pass to Aaron Ramsdale almost resulted in a penalty only for VAR to intervene and overturn the referee’s original decision.
Former Arsenal defender Nigel Winterburn was on hand to give White some valuable advice on how to handle things at the back. The ex-Gunners’ star also stated the 23-year-old would need time to settle properly at the Emirates.
As quoted by the Daily Star, Winterburn said: “Ben White needs time to settle in at Arsenal. When I played, and even now when I’m doing analysis, we should give players six months to settle into a club. But when you cost £50m, and you’re thrust into the first team, you’re going to be judged immediately.
“You’re coming to a team who have historically been so good. They’re one of the biggest teams in the league, despite being in a difficult period. He’ll be judged differently to when he was at Brighton. I don’t know whether he’s looked nervy or on edge, but he needs time to settle in and play with that back four.
“If I was a manager and giving him advice, what I would say to him is decision-making. Playing out from the back is all about risk assessment. It doesn’t matter what a manager asks you to do; if Ben thinks it’s too risky to do that, he has to take the other option. He has to think more while he’s playing.”
White is slowly getting his steadiness in the Arsenal side, and things have improved for the better part since the return of Gabriel in the lineup. Both defenders are expected to form a partnership over the season, and their next big test comes against Tottenham in the North London Derby on Sunday.