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Arsenal defender Ben White has described how Lewis Dunk took him “under his wing” during their time together at Brighton.
Starting out in Southampton’s academy as a youngster, White made the switch to Brighton in 2014. He was, however, quickly loaned out to various clubs in order to further his progression.
Such loan moves gradually progressed in standards, with the defender starting out at League Two Newport County, before another brief spell at League One Peterborough United.
A Championship loan at Leeds United followed, where White played a key role as the club lifted the 2019/20 Championship trophy.
Arsenal defender looked up to Dunk
White lasted just one season in the Brighton first-team before Arsenal came calling in July 2021, but it was enough for the youngster to be inspired by fellow centre-back Dunk.
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has utilised White as a right-back for the majority of the current campaign, but the talented defender once lined out very successfully at centre-back alongside Dunk at Brighton.
“Yeah Dunky took me under his wing, and when I started at Brighton my goal was to play alongside him,” White told the Arsenal website.
“They were in the Championship then, but I was still very far off that level when I arrived. So it was a long-term goal for me to do that, and finally I managed to do it in my last season at Brighton.
“He was there from a young age as well, he was just a normal guy, English as well, down to earth, same position and we got on well. From him it was more a case of watching what he did every day.
“He was an example for me to follow. He was someone you look up to and see him training every day. I knew I needed to be at that level.”
Arsenal star inspired every day
White has featured 32 times in all competitions this season for the Gunners, keeping fellow defender Takehiro Tomiyasu out of the right-back spot due to his fine displays at both ends of the pitch.
The versatile defender has not missed a single Premier League game this season, as well as playing five times in the Europa League and once in the FA Cup.
Arsenal are sitting pretty at the top of the league, five points ahead of Manchester City in second, while their Europa League journey continues against Sporting this evening.
Having been shown the ropes by Brighton veteran Dunk, White is now thriving at Arsenal, with the 25-year-old revealing that he now finds inspiration simply by coming into work.
“Just coming into work every day for a club like Arsenal is enough to inspire me,” added White. “You have to be honest to yourself, come into training every day and become a better version of yourself. Just focus on yourself, don’t judge yourself by other people’s standards, be yourself.
“I’m here for what I can bring to the team, and that’s what I need to work on every day, and try to be consistent every day at work.
“I look forward to training every day. Honestly I enjoy every part of the job, and anyway it’s a routine that you get used to, like everyone. You brush your teeth in the morning then go to work, and you do it every day.”
🆚 Sporting CP
⏰ 5.45pm (UK)
🏟️ Estadio Jose Alvalade
🏆 Europa League pic.twitter.com/2RpJ5oyU82
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) March 9, 2023