Why Arsenal's Ben White turned down latest England call up

  • Southgate says White does not want to be considered for England
  • Decision may affect his inclusion in Euro 2024
  • Signs new extended contract at Arsenal

England Training Session - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022
England Training Session - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 / Michael Steele/GettyImages

England manager Gareth Southgate revealed that Arsenal defender Ben White expressed his reluctance to be considered for the latest England squad, effectively diminishing his prospects for the upcoming European Championships this summer.

The revelation came to light after a phone call between Southgate and Arsenal's sporting director, Edu, last week. Southgate, addressing reporters at Wembley Stadium on Thursday, lamented the decision: "We had a call from Edu last week to say that Ben didn't want to be considered for England squads at this time. It's a great shame," he said.

While Southgate left the door open for White's potential return in the future, he acknowledged that the timing for the versatile defender's inclusion in the June squad would be challenging, given the consistent performance of other players who have been part of the squad and actively playing. White, 26, has not represented England since his departure from the Qatar World Cup in late 2022.

Despite assertions that White's decision isn't personal, Southgate refuted claims of any rift between the player and the coaching staff, including himself and assistant coach Steve Holland.

"There is no issue between us at all and there's also no issue with Steve, which has been mentioned in articles and I don't like that," said Southgate.

"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."

Though White will miss out on representing his country in the upcoming fixtures, he remains in stellar form for Arsenal, a fact underscored by his recent contract extension until 2028. Reacting to the news, White emphasised Arsenal's growing strength, cautioning their title rivals that they are poised to become even more formidable with the core of Mikel Arteta's squad secured.