Gareth Southgate explains why Arsenal defender Ben White still can’t get in the England squad
The right-back has not featured since the World Cup a year ago.
The 26-year-old, who has impressed enormously for the Gunners since moving from centre-back to right-back, has not featured for his country since he was named in England’s 26-man squad for the World Cup last year.
White left the tournament early for personal reasons without playing a game in Qatar and, in the five squads since, has yet to return to the fold.
There had been suggestions White might have fallen out with Southgate but the England boss has rubbished any hint of animosity and says his non-selection is purely down to football reasons, also suggesting he still feels the Arsenal man is a centre-back being played out of position.
Asked about White’s snub and whether he is available for selection, Southgate replied: ‘I assume so.
‘Ben’s been very solid for Arsenal. He is a different profile of full-back. He’s more of a centre-back playing at full-back really.
‘And he’s obviously doing a good job for his club, he’s just behind a couple of others in our reckoning.’
Probed on whether his non-selection is purely down to footballing reasons or if there was any lingering issue from his early World Cup departure, Southgate replied: ‘No, again we’ve got Kyle [Walker], Kieran [Trippier], we’ve got Trent [Alexander-Arnold], we’ve got Reece James.
‘It’s a position where we’ve got strength. As I said, there’s a couple of good young ones coming through.
‘And, again, we’re on a good run and the defence is playing well. So that’s where we are.’
Asked last week if he would press White’s claims to be in the England squad, Arteta said: ‘That’s not something for me to get involved in. Does he have the ability? Yes! Then it’s a conversation for them to have.
‘What I want is a player feels happy and they represent their club and their country in the best possible way.’
He added: ‘I think he’s progressed in the right way in the last few years. He had a little bit of a difficult start, which is normal because it was a big jump with different expectations. He started to play as well in certain different positions, but I think he’s shown a lot of determination and courage to overcome that.
‘I think he has a big personality, I think he copes with pressure really well, he has a lot of quality, he gives us different positions and he’s been a key player for us.’
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