Ben White has admitted that all the players in the Arsenal squad are missing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and addressed rumours that he could be in line to replace the striker as club captain.
Aubameyang has not played for the Gunners since their 2-1 defeat to Everton on December 6, with Mikel Arteta exiling the 32-year-old from his plans due to a disciplinary breach.
The Arsenal boss also relieved Aubameyang of his captaincy duties, leading to question marks over his future at Emirates Stadium.
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What's been said?
The north London outfit have embarked on a four-match winning streak in Aubameyang's absence, rising to fourth in the Premier League standings in the process.
White claims the atmosphere in the dressing room hasn't been the same without the forward, though, as he told talkSPORT when asked if his situation has been a distraction: “It hasn’t really looked it on the scoresheet. We’ve been playing well.
“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.”
Could White be Arsenal's next captain?
Arsenal spent £50 million ($67m) to sign White from Brighton in the summer transfer window and he has since gradually nailed down a spot in Arteta's starting XI.
It has been suggested that the 24-year-old has all the necessary qualities to succeed Aubameyang as captain, and he would welcome the chance to don the armband.
“I’ve never done it before, but it would obviously be an absolute honour to be captain,' said White.
“I think I’ve got some of the qualities to be captain, but we’ll see in time.”
White's career at the Emirates didn't get off to the best of starts, with the Gunners losing 2-0 at newly-promoted Brentford on his debut.
The England international concedes he needed a "kick up the a*se" after that performance, but has rejected the notion that his lofty price tag has been a weight around his neck.
“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,” White said of the pressure he faced after his transfer from Brighton.
“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.”