Ben White could be frozen out at Arsenal after 'brilliant' development - pundit
Noel Whelan has suggested William Saliba may have displaced Ben White in the Arsenal squad following his “brilliant” debut.
The former Leeds striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, claimed the 24-year-old ex-Brighton star could stay in the starting eleven by performing in a makeshift right-back role.
Saliba enjoyed a successful Premier League debut during the 2-0 win over Crystal Palace on Friday (5 August), recording five interceptions and five clearances (per FBRef).
White played at right-back with Takehiro Tomiyasu not fit enough to return following a significant injury layoff.
The four-time England international completed seven tackles (per FBRef) at Selhurst Park as he limited the effectiveness of Palace star Wilfried Zaha.
However, Tomiyasu is inching closer to a return after playing 45 minutes for Arsenal’s Under-23 side on Saturday (6 August).
Click below for exclusive transfer news
Whelan insisted White’s centre-back berth is “in danger” following the emergence of Saliba.
“There’s no doubt that they’ve got competition now,” he told Football Insider‘s Ewan Kingsbury.
“That’s what Arteta wanted, a big, strong squad.
“But that means someone has to miss out. Yes, Ben White is in danger with Saliba coming in and performing so brilliantly.
“But if Ben White can perform at right-back, then Tomiyasu doesn’t get back into the side.
“Right now that competition and that strength in depth is giving them an extra edge and could help them close the gap to the top sides.
“The back line, in particular, was very strong, they limited Crystal Palace to almost nothing.”
White cost Arsenal a reported £50million when they signed him from Brighton last summer (2021).
The ball-playing defender can also play in a defensive midfield role, having done so in 13 career appearances.