Ben White says ‘I even want to beat my wife at Uno’ as Arsenal star reveals opponent Mikel Arteta told him to foul

BEN WHITE is the prime example of why you should never judge a book by  its cover.

He is quietly spoken, polite, articulate and measured. The Arsenal defender is intriguing company.

GettyBen White has revealed his winning mentality as he drives Arsenal to another title race[/caption]

Instagram @millywhiteWhite doesn’t even have a day off when playing Uno with wife Milly[/caption]

Then there is his appearance . . . the tan, the immaculate hair, the chiselled jaw and the tattoos that smother his body.

And yet, when he crosses the white line, the handsome boy next door transforms into a snarling, win-at-all-costs competitor.

That winning mentality does not stop when he gets home to his wife Milly.

White, 26, explained: “I want to win everything that I do. My ­missus and I play a lot of games at home. We play bat and ball, Uno, this magnetic game. I won’t be letting her win.”

But what happens if Milly starts winning?  “The ball gets lost . . . ”

Mikel Arteta, the man who forked out £50million to sign the right-back from Brighton in the summer of 2021, views White as his ultimate warrior. 

White plays a massive role in bringing the edge and streetwise look to this squad, something that  Emirates boss Arteta feels can still be cranked up a touch as they battle for the ­Premier League title again this season.

In the early stages of Arsenal’s recent 4-1 win over Newcastle, White was given an off-the-ball whack by Anthony Gordon.

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White made it his mission to get him back in the following ten minutes. He did, twice. Gordon barely got a sniff from then on. 

White explained: “Before the game we have instructions of how they are going to do well and what processes they have to be able to hurt us. Gordon was one of them.

“My job was to stop him rolling inside so I had to get as tight as possible, otherwise foul him. He’s going inside if not.

“Every game, normally the winger is the best player, so it’s always a challenge and I have to do my homework and try to  stop him.

“I know I’m not going to stop everyone and I know I’m not the best one-v-one defender but I know I can do things to help the team in game situations against their winger.”

White’s cult-hero status is born from clips on social media showing him doing the dirty work that is adored from the Emirates stands. All the while, fans chant: “Benny . . . White, White, White.”

He laughed: “Some of the  videos I have seen, maybe others don’t see it, but it’s because I’ve lost the runner. If I don’t do that they will probably score. It comes back to doing anything to win.”

White has also been an integral part in Arsenal’s emergence as set-piece kings, the Gunners ­scoring 19 goals from them — not including penalties — in the Prem this season.

His job primarily is to stand in front of the opposition keeper and be a nuisance. It works but White often comes away with a few bumps and bruises.

At one point in their 1-0 defeat at Porto in their Champions League last-16 first leg, he was shoved to the ground.

Despite his nice-boy image, White loves a bit of rough and tumble. 

He said: “There’s all sorts at corners. Standing on your feet, elbows. It’s OK. I just have to stand in the way and see what happens. Any way we can score goals it’s a positive. 

“Adding all that to the number of goals we do score, it’s important.

“It’s something we are quite good at now.”

White supposedly does not like football. His dry, brutal honesty in interviews perhaps adds to that theory but it could not be further from the truth.

He loves football and is obsessed with winning. He just knows when to switch off from the  bubble.

It is why his peculiar England situation remains at the back of his mind.

Despite his impressive, consistent form, White still only has four caps.

He has been ignored by Three Lions chief Gareth Southgate since leaving the England squad midway through the Qatar World Cup in November 2022 due to ‘personal reasons’.

I remember always wanting to win and play aggressive and do as much as I could to win

Ben White

On being able to switch off, he said: “That’s one of the best things I’m able to do.  I know people say I don’t like football but I go home and football is not on my mind.

“I can just be a normal person, relax. When I’m in here (at Arsenal’s London Colney training base) it is intense.”

Arteta once said that White trains every day like it is a Champions League final.

White recalled: “It’s come from since I was young. I want to win everything that I do.

“I remember always wanting to win and play aggressive and do as much as I could to win.”

That aggression has been channelled in the right way this campaign, helping Arsenal remain in the middle of a three-pronged title race alongside Manchester City and Liverpool.

At 26, White is one of the older statesmen of this young group.

So, are Arsenal more mature than last season, when they lost an eight-point lead at the top as City came storming through to win the title?

White said: “Yeah, definitely. Probably, we can be more streetwise. 

“The Champions League is a new experience for us but the players we have added will step up in those big games and provide what we need.

“We have improved massively as a team and, if we were in the same position this year, it would be very different.”

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