Ben White England Arsenal

Gareth Southgate has revealed that Arsenal defender Ben White does not want to be considered for England selection at this time.

White has not been included in an England squad since leaving the 2022 World Cup prematurely for personal reasons, though Southgate has insisted the door remains open for the defender to return.

The 26-year-old has been in fine form for Arsenal this season and celebrated signing a new long-term contract with the Gunners on Thursday.

However, White was a notable omission when Southgate named his England squad to face Belgium and Brazil this month, with the Three Lions manager revealing that decision was White’s, who has informed the national set-up he does not want to be considered ‘at the moment’.

“We had a call from [Arsenal’s sporting director] Edu last week saying Ben didn’t want to be considered for England squads at the moment,” Southgate said at a press conference.

“I spoke to him post-Qatar and there was reticence from his side. I don’t know why that is, but I respect that. I leave the door open because he’s a good player.

“There is no issue between us at all and there’s also no issue with [assistant manager] Steve Holland, which has been mentioned in articles and I don’t like that.

“I have to accept things are false about me, but I’m not prepared for that to happen to my coaching team. That is not the reason Ben is not with us.

“I want that door wide open (For White to return). He would be in this squad, but he’s not available to us.”

Southgate spoke further on White and revealed the defender is not the first player to turn down a call from England.

“He’s not the first player who at certain times, didn’t want to be available for selection.

“I’ve protected them because I’ve wanted the door to always be open for them. Sometimes I get the flack but people don’t know the reasons. He’s playing very well, but he’s not available for selection.

“You have to deal with it. The very first squad I picked, I called a player and he said ‘no’. Sometimes these things are out of your control.

“Clearly to come in for June now would be difficult because others have been in the squads and playing regularly.

“With situations like that, you have to assess those who have been on your journey the whole way through.”

Read – Southgate discusses Branthwaite call-up and Phillips snub

See more – Gareth Southgate names England squad for March internationals

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