‘A great shame’ as Ben White snubs latest England call-up from Gareth Southgate

Gareth Southgate has revealed in-form Arsenal defender Ben White does not want to be selected by England at the moment.

The 26-year-old has starred for the Premier League leaders this season but has not featured for the national team since the 2022 World Cup.

White returned early from Qatar for what the Football Association called “personal reasons” and reports later emerged of an alleged bust-up with England assistant Steve Holland.

Ben White, left
Ben White left England’s 2022 World Cup camp early (Mike Egerton/PA)

The manager revealed White would otherwise have been in his 25-man squad, explaining: “Clearly on form I can’t sit here and say he doesn’t deserve to be in.

“We, John McDermott and I, had a call from Edu (Arsenal sporing director) last week (and he) said Ben didn’t want to be considered for England squads at this time.

“For me that is a great shame. He is a player we took to the Euros, a player we took to the World Cup and I spoke to him post-Qatar because I wanted to pick him.

“He is not available to us and there is no issue between us at all and I also should say there is never any issue with (coach) Steve Holland because that has been mentioned in articles and I don’t like that.

“I want that door wide open. He would be in this squad but he’s not available to us and I have to focus on who can help us.”

White has earned four senior England caps since his move to Arsenal, but has not been part of Southgate’s plans since an early departure from the last World Cup in Qatar.

Earlier on Thursday, White signed a new contract with the Gunners, admitting it is “unbelievable” to have found his home at the Emirates Stadium.

The 26-year-old agreed a new four-year deal, with the option for a further 12 months in north London, the PA news agency understands.

White has been a vital part of Mikel Arteta’s side as they sit top of the Premier League and prepare for a first Champions League quarter-final appearance in 14 years.

He featured in every Premier League game last season as Arsenal were pipped at the post by treble-winners Manchester City but has further impressed in his role at right-back this campaign.

Having come through the ranks at Brighton, White spent three seasons out on loan – with Newport, Peterborough and Leeds, respectively, as he gradually made his way up the leagues.

Asked if Arsenal now feels like home, White replied: “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).”

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