Why Ben White is not in England squad despite impressive Arsenal form

England manager Gareth Southgate has confirmed Ben White asked not to be considered for selection for his latest squad.

Southgate confirmed his final squad before Euro 2024 on Thursday and there was no sign of White, whose excellent form at club level for Arsenal earned him a new contract earlier in the day.

White’s omission was put to Southgate after the squad was announced and the England manager revealed that White had asked not to be involved.

“It’s absolutely the question you should ask because on form, I can’t sit here and say he doesn’t deserve to be in,” Southgate began. “We had a call from [Arsenal sporting director] Edu saying Ben didn’t want to be considered for England at this time.

“It’s a great shame, he’s a player I really like. I spoke to him post-Qatar because I was keen to pick him and there was reticence on his side. I don’t know why that is but I have to respect that and I want to leave the door open to him.”

White was part of the England squad for the 2022 World Cup but left camp after just two group games because of “personal reasons”. Reports of a bust-up with assistant manager Steve Holland have been denied.

“The other thing I would say is there’s no issue between us at all and never any issue with Steve Holland because that has been mentioned and I don’t like that,” Southgate insisted.

Ben WhiteBen White

White left the 2022 World Cup early / Alex Pantling/GettyImages

The boss continued: “I have to respect it. He’s not the first player that hasn’t wanted to be available for selection so I’ve always tried to protect them because I want the door to be open, even though I’m the one that gets it in the neck for not picking them.

“You have to allow them time to come through, We’ve had young players that don’t feel comfortable coming away with England so there can be all sorts of reasons for that.

“We should respect that. I repeat that he’s playing very well.”

England face Brazil and Belgium across the international break before club football returns for the final weekend of March. For Arsenal, a trip to Manchester City on March 31 is on the cards.


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