Ben White snubbed England after ‘barbed comment’ from Steve Holland in front of teammates | Football

Ben White did not want to be selected for the latest England squad (Picture: Getty)

Ben White’s England exile was sparked by a comment made by Gareth Southgate’s assistant coach Steve Holland in front of his England teammates at the World Cup in Qatar.

Last week, Southgate revealed the Arsenal defender had made it clear he does not wish to be considered for selection for the national team.

Arsenal’s sporting director Edu informed England of the 26-year-old’s decision with Southgate claiming he unaware of the exact reasons behind his decision.

Last November during the group stages of the World Cup in Qatar, White left the England camp in Doha to return home for what the FA described as ‘personal reasons’. He has not been part of the Three Lions squad since then.

According to the Daily Telegraph, problems arose when Holland made a ‘barbed comment’ directed at White in front of his teammates.

The report states Holland initially asked White’s fellow right-back Kyle Walker a question relating to Manchester City’s performances the previous season.

Holland then asked White the same question on Arsenal’s recent season with the Gunners defender replying he did not know the answer.

Steve Holland and Gareth Southgate

Holland is said to have made the comments in front of other England players (Picture: Getty)

It is claimed Holland remarked that White is not ‘sufficiently interested’ in football to know the answer.

A few days later, White asked to leave the England camp. There was thought to be no row between White and Holland, either in private or in front of teammates.

The report adds White’s issue with the comments were the public nature of them, viewing it as an issue of respect.

During last week’s press conference, Southgate stressed that Holland does not have an issue with White.

‘He’s clearly playing very well and has been for a long time,’ Southgate said of White.

‘But he’s not the first player who, at certain times, hasn’t wanted to be available for selection. I’ve always tried to protect those players because I always want the door to be left open, even though on lots of those occasions I’m the one who gets it in the neck for not picking them and people don’t know the reasons.

‘There’s no issue between us and there was never any issue with Steve Holland. That has been mentioned in articles and I don’t like that.

‘People can talk about me and I have to accept that things get said that are false, about me. For whatever reason in this role, you have to stomach that.

‘But I’m not prepared for that to happen to a key member of my coaching team. That is not the reason Ben is not available for selection.’


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