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Mikel Arteta finally issues response to Ben White's England snub ahead of Arsenal's game with Man City

Mikel Arteta finally issues response to Ben White's England snub ahead of Arsenal's game with Man City

The Arsenal manager has broken his silence.

Mikel Arteta has finally responded to Ben White's decision to turn down an England call-up from Gareth Southgate for the recent internationals against Brazil and Belgium.

It was rather a shock that the Arsenal defender wasn't included in the squad for the friendlies, and when questioned on White's absence the England manager revealed he had turned down the opportunity.

"Clearly on form I can’t sit here and say he doesn’t deserve to be in," explained Southgate.

"We, John McDermott and I had a call from Edu (Arsenal sporting 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," The 53-year-old added.

"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 faced considerable backlash for his decision, with Harry Redknapp slamming the defender arguing he should never be picked again regardless of his availability.

Ben White- Getty
Ben White- Getty

Ahead of Arsenal's crucial Premier League match at the Etihad this weekend, Arteta broke his silence on the situation surrounding White.

Unsurprisingly the Spaniard was quick to defend his player, but did hope the situation could be resolved for the sake of White's career.

“I hope he is ready one day to represent his country in the best possible way. It’s up to him," Arteta said.

This isn't the first time White has snubbed international duty, after leaving the squad in Qatar during the 2022 World Cup for personal reasons. The 26-year-old has four international caps to his name to date after making his England debut back in 2021.

Featured Image Credit: Getty/Sky Sports

Topics: Arsenal, Ben White, England, Gareth Southgate, Mikel Arteta, Premier League