Premier League

Gareth Southgate sends final message to Ben White over Euro 2024 place

Declan Rice, Ben White, Eddie Nketiah

England boss Gareth Southgate says the “door is open” for Arsenal defender Ben White, but he must make the first move if he is to play at Euro 2024 this summer.

Earlier this month it was revealed that White chose not to be involved in friendlies against Brazil and Belgium. The 26-year-old has been absent from a lot of England’s recent fixtures, last featuring for the team during the 2022 World Cup, when he left the tournament early.

Southgate has been clear on his intentions to feature White in the team, saying it is now up to the defender whether he returns or not.

“It’s really for Ben now,” the England boss said. “Declan [Rice] is obviously in a difficult situation, you’re asking him about a teammate and he’s going to be careful what he says. 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.

“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.”

Declan Rice, Ben White, Eddie Nketiah

White and Rice are England teammates / Shaun Botterill/GettyImages

Arsenal teammate Declan Rice, who captained the England squad against Belgium, recently addressed White’s decision to step away from the Three Lions.

Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live, Rice said: “Ben is such a good guy and he’s an unbelievable footballer.

“It is hard to know really what is going on but he has made his decision and he doesn’t want to play for England at this moment in time. Playing for England is the greatest honour you could ever have.

“Ben has the quality to play anywhere, and when you have a player like that it really is key. Hopefully he changes his mind, but if he’s happy doing that, that’s Ben’s decision.”


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