Monday , May 20 2024

Ben White has told England he doesn’t want to play, reveals Gareth Southgate, after Arsenal defender left Qatar World Cup for mystery ‘personal reasons’ before reports of a bust-up with Steve Holland

  • Gareth Southgate has named his 25-man squad for England’s March friendlies
  • The England boss then revealed that Ben White asked not to be considered
  • ‘He’s the one Premier League player I’d PAY to watch’ Which star has IAN LADYMAN entranced? – It’s All Kicking off podcast 

Gareth Southgate has revealed that Ben White ‘didn’t want to be considered’ for England’s upcoming friendlies with Brazil and Belgium.  

On Thursday afternoon, Southgate confirmed his 25-man squad for the matches later this month before claiming that White ruled himself out of selection.

The England boss confirmed: ‘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. We had a call from 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.

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‘He’s not available to us but 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’.

Gareth Southgate revealed that Ben White asked 'not to be considered' for England's friendlies

Gareth Southgate revealed that Ben White asked ‘not to be considered’ for England’s friendlies

The England boss has named his 25-man squad that will take on Brazil and Belgium

The England boss has named his 25-man squad that will take on Brazil and Belgium

During the 2022 World Cup, the defender left the Three Lions squad early due to ‘personal reasons’, with Southgate later rubbishing reports that White’s departure was due to a clash with assistant boss Holland.

The Gunners star didn’t feature in any of England’s group stage matches before leaving the camp on November 30 – days before their last-16 win over Senegal. 

Southgate 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’.

The Three Lions continue their build-up to Euro 2024 in Germany this summer when they face friendlies against Brazil on March 23 and Belgium on March 26 – both at Wembley. 

Everton’s Jarrad Branthwaite and Newcastle’s Anthony Gordon have received their first England call-ups for the fixtures – while West Ham’s Kalvin Phillips will miss out.

Ben White's World Cup exit followed a major bust-up with Steve Holland, according to reports

Holland and White reportedly fell out in Qatar

Reports claimed White’s World Cup exit was due to a bust-up with Steve Holland (right)

Everton defender Jarrad Branthwaite has been called up for the first time to the senior squad

Everton defender Jarrad Branthwaite has been called up for the first time to the senior squad

White has penned a new contract with Arsenal until 2028 with the option for an extra year

White has penned a new contract with Arsenal until 2028 with the option for an extra year 

Just hours before Southgate’s squad announcement, Arsenal confirmed that White had signed a new long-term deal with the club. 

White said: ‘I have been on loan three times, I have been places for a year. I think this is the first time I’ve actually settled and known I am not going anywhere in the summer. Being here is unbelievable and I’d love to stay (for more years).

‘I think if you do look at the ages, it’s going to get better.’

He added: ‘Yeah, definitely. I think when those sort of players are getting signed, it shows there is a real ambition about the club and it is something I am loving being a part of.’ 

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