Arsenal defender Benjamin White admits the squad “miss” Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, with the striker exiled from the first team.
Aubameyang was stripped of the Gunners captaincy following a disciplinary breach and has not featured since.
He has missed four matches in total, including the north Londoners’ 5-1 win against Sunderland in the Carabao Cup quarter-final.
Manager Mikel Arteta has opted against naming a club captain, instead going for a “leadership group” which includes ex-skipper Granit Xhaka, who also had the armband taken off him after an altercation with the club’s fans.
“It hasn’t really looked it on the scoresheet. We’ve been playing well,” White told talkSPORT when asked if the Aubameyang situation has been a distraction for the team.
“Obviously it’s disappointing for Auba but we’ve all got our heads down and we’re working hard.
“He’s a really nice guy, we all miss him, but it is what it is.”
Ben White on Mikel Arteta: ‘I’ve had a few managers & I’d say his man-management is the best I’ve been under. Every player is different & needs different things, and he definitely understands that. He’s a top manager and it’s showing – we’re getting the results now’. pic.twitter.com/vDFcbZJnFk
— Patrick Timmons (@PatrickTimmons1) December 24, 2021
On suggestions that he could be Arsenal captain, the central defender said: “I’ve never done it before, but it would obviously be an absolute honour to be captain.
“I think I’ve got some of the qualities to be captain, but we’ll see in time.”
White joined the Gunners from Brighton for £50million, but the 24-year-old admits he did not feel the pressure of the price tag.
“It’s a weird one – I’ve been asked this question before and I’ve spoken to my mum about it, she asked me the same thing.
“It’s not really anything to do with me. I don’t decide the price tag, it’s not anything that I’m involved in.
“So it’s out of my control, and if it’s out of my control there’s no point worrying about it.”
Elsewhere, Roma are “in talks” with Arsenal over signing Ainsley Maitland-Niles on loan in the January transfer window, according to reports.
The midfielder has only started two Premier League games in 21/22, playing eight league encounters in total.
And according to ESPN, Serie A club Roma are “in talks” with the north Londoners, and the player is “open to the move”.
The report adds that Roma are keen to bring Maitland-Niles in on loan with the option of making the move permanent in the summer.