Ben Foster defends Arsenal’s Ben White over England call-up snub | Football

Ben White’s decision to snub England has split opinion (Photo: Getty)

Former England goalkeeper Ben Foster has defended Arsenal star Ben White’s decision to reject a call-up to the national team.

Last week, Gareth Southgate named his squad for the March international break, which will be his last chance to assess players before selecting his side for Euro 2024.

White was once again omitted, having not been part of the England camp since leaving the 2022 World Cup early amid reports of a bust-up with assistant manager Steve Holland.

Southgate has now revealed that the in-form defender had requested not to be considered for selection through Arsenal’s sporting director Edu.

This decision has divided opinion, with Harry Redknapp calling it ‘disgusting’ and saying the 26-year-old should no longer be considered for the Three Lions.

However, Foster, who won eight caps for his country from 2007 to 2014, believes White has done the right thing, recounting his own experience of refusing a call-up.

‘It’s hard to know exactly what Ben White is like as a character. There’s been loads of stories floating around before about the fact that he doesn’t particularly like football away from it,’ the former keeper said on the Fozcast.

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‘Obviously when he turns up to his day job at Arsenal he trains very well. See him on a Saturday afternoon he’s been one of the best right-backs in the Premier League this season.

‘But when it comes to all the other stuff, I get the vibe that he doesn’t really enjoy it all, he doesn’t like the show of it all, especially going away with England.

‘It’s a two week period where he can have a real rest, a real shutdown, escape from it all, not have to worry about football and when you’re somebody that doesn’t particularly love all of that stuff, all the trappings that come with being a footballer, that is a real great chance.

‘I rejected an England call up at once when Fabio Capello was manager. My kids were just being born and I knew that I wasn’t going to be playing when I was away with England. I knew I was going there basically just to make up the numbers.

England v Cote D'Ivoire - International Friendly

White last played for England in March 2022 (Photo: Getty)

‘I didn’t really get too much respect from Fabio Capello. My son was born, I rushed off to the birth and I was on the phone to him later on that night.

‘He said: “We need you back, there’s an England game tomorrow you need to be on the bench,” and I was like: “Do I really need to be on the bench? I’ve just had my son it would be really nice to spend some time with him”.

‘He’s like: “No you’re going to play the second half”. I didn’t play the second half! I left, I came back, sat on the bench, did not get a minute of football and I just thought: “I don’t like that”. That goes beyond it for me.

Ben Foster represented England at the 2014 World Cup (Photo: Getty)

‘So at the next international camp I said I’m not going to be joining up with the squad because I’d rather spend it with my family with my newborn children and that’s the way I saw it. I really enjoyed that time.

‘Again you got to put yourself in Ben White’s shoes. If he doesn’t like new environments, new people… he might be an anxious character you just don’t know what these sort of people are like.

‘I’m with him. If he enjoys you know these international breaks, just getting away from it, relaxing, then power to you mate.’

Foster went onto reveal that he’d spoken to White’s Arsenal and England teammate Aaron Ramsdale to ask about White’s character and was told nothing hut good things.

‘I spoke to Aaron Ramsdale about it and he said: “He’s a top lad”.

“Ben White is a top, top lad, don’t worry about anything like that, none of it is true, he’s just a top lad”,’

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