• Manager says not explaining would have damaged his credibility
  • Southgate: ‘I don’t think it would be right not to state situation’

Gareth Southgate has revealed that Ben White does not want to be considered for England selection, saying he had to go public with the truth because to continue to “protect” the Arsenal player would have been to risk his own credibility.

Southgate wanted to call up White for the upcoming Wembley friendlies against Brazil and Belgium, with the Football Association making inquiries about adding him to the pre-squad-announcement long list. White, outstanding for Arsenal as they have surged to the top of the Premier League and into the Champions League quarter-finals, went home early from the 2022 World Cup in Qatar – his last involvement with England. Southgate said Arsenal’s technical director, Edu, had phoned his FA counterpart John McDermott to say that White had made himself unavailable. Southgate, who has not spoken to White in recent weeks, said he did not know why the defender did not want to play for England.

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