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England boss Gareth Southgate insists the ‘door is open’ for Ben White but Arsenal defender must make first move if he wants to play at Euro 2024

England boss Gareth Southgate insists the ‘door is open’ for Ben White but the defender must make first move if he wants to play at Euro 2024 this summer.

Midfielder Declan Rice said he will speak to White upon his return to Arsenal, with England’s newest captain hopeful that his club team-mate will eventually agree to end his exile.

But Southgate said that he will leave it up to White because Arsenal contacted the FA and insisted that he did not want to be selected for the friendlies this month.

England boss Southgate said: ‘It’s really for Ben now. Dec is obviously in a difficult situation you’re asking him about a team-mate and he’s going to be careful what he says. As I’ve said to you, the door is open for us. 

‘That’s clearly difficult ahead of the Euros, where you’ve got players that have played all the way through but we have no idea of knowing who’s going to be available in that area of the pitch.

Ben White has not featured for England since returning early from the 2022 World Cup

The Arsenal defender was pictured back at the club's first-team training on Tuesday

The Arsenal defender was pictured back at the club’s first-team training on Tuesday 

‘I respected the situation as Arsenal have contacted us. So in the end, I know the conversation I had with him last March. I felt I should back away from it a little bit. But I’ve always left the door open. I was keen to bring him in this camp.’

White is not with the Three Lions squad after informing Southgate that he does not want to be selected for his country.

‘The only thing I can say is it’s Ben’s life,’ said Rice. ‘It’s Ben’s decision. We can’t argue with him, with what he wants to do. Of course, there’s always going to be people writing stuff, having their opinions on what on what they think.

‘But at the end of the day, the only thing that matters is what he thinks and at this moment in time, he obviously doesn’t want to play for England.’

White has not featured for England since leaving their World Cup camp in Qatar in 2022 due to ‘personal reasons’ amid reports he had a bust-up with Holland.

Reports have suggested that the rift was sparked by Holland questioning White’s interest in football while they were out in Qatar. 

Southgate’s assistant reportedly asked Kyle Walker a question related to Manchester City’s performances in the previous season, before posing the same question to White in regards to Arsenal.

White allegedly said he did not know the answer, leading Holland to claim that was down to his lack of interest in football.

The conversation is said to have happened in front of other members of the squad.

Declan Rice plans to hold talks with Arsenal team-mate White upon his return to the club

Declan Rice plans to hold talks with Arsenal team-mate White upon his return to the club

England boss Gareth Southgate insists the 'door is open' for White to return

England boss Gareth Southgate insists the ‘door is open’ for White to return

White has previously admitted he was never a football fan when he was younger and rarely watches matches to this day.

White jetted off with his wife Milly Adams to Dubai for a warm-weather break amid debate over his decision to turn down the chance to play for Southgate ‘s side.

The 26-year-old was pictured back in Arsenal training on Tuesday as he steps up his preparations for the Gunners’ crunch clash with title rivals Manchester City on Sunday.



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