Arteta: White "fully deserves" World Cup call-up

Ben White celebrates beating Crystal Palace

Mikel Arteta was delighted to see Ben White get called up to the England squad for the World Cup, suggesting that our defender fully deserved his spot.

Ben has impressed for us all campaign after switching to right-back and his displays as well as versatility have caught the eye of Gareth Southgate who included him in the 26-man Three Lions squad.

And his club manager was thrilled for Ben, saying: “I think he was really happy. I think the staff and players were so happy for him, he fully deserves it and you could see that it was a big moment for him.

“All of the credit is down to what he’s done. You look at his career and how far he’s come in a short very period of time, it says everything about the person, the player, his ambition and especially the consistency that he’s achieved over the last few years.”

Mikel was also jokingly asked if Ben had thanked him for his pre-season switch to full-back, which was initially to accommodate William Saliba - another of our defenders heading to Qatar. 

But he was quick to heap more praise on White, whom he feels has benefitted hugely from the change and the development it has brought about in his game.

“We have discussed that every player needs some time to understand the reasons why [they play in new positions], and I think he’s really enjoying it,” Mikel added. “It brings him other opportunities and being a versatile player is something that’s rare in this world and I think he’s got the capacity to do that.”

While there has been plenty of joy around our training ground this week with nine Gunners so far selected for the World Cup, some of the squad have been left disappointed by not getting the call from the national team bosses.

Arteta revealed that the squad have been supporting each other through the highs and lows of the announcements, and believes those members of our young squad who missed out this time will get an opportunity to experience a World Cup sometime down the line.

“I think the boys have been really good with each other,” he revealed. “We knew how much it meant to big Gabi to be selected and be part of the national team, but unfortunately, they didn’t have the space this time. 

“The good news is that he’s really young, he will have other opportunities and you have to respect those decisions and carry on your career.”

Watch the whole press conference, or read our in-depth match preview

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