Declan Rice to urge Arsenal team-mate Ben White into England U-turn | Football

The midfielder says White is ‘such a good guy’ and would be welcomed back (Picture: Getty)

Declan Rice says he will try to persuade Ben White to backtrack on his decision to make himself unavailable for England when he links back up with his Arsenal team-mate.

Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate had wanted to include White in his squad for this month’s friendlies against Brazil and Belgium, though the defender made it clear – via Arsenal sporting director Edu – that he did not want to be considered for selection.

Southgate says he is unsure of the exact reason why White no longer wants to represent England, though hit out at suggestions the 26-year-old had clashed with assistant coach Steve Holland.

Rice, who will captain England against Belgium on Tuesday evening, is also in the dark over White’s reasoning, but says he will speak to the former Brighton man and try to convince him to return to the squad.

‘We had a few days off before we came away so I haven’t seen him,’ said Rice of White’s England snub.

‘When I go back I’ll speak to him and see, but hopefully he does change his mind on that.

‘Because having a player like that in the squad who’s performing well in the Premier League, it’d be a great addition to the squad.’

England boss Gareth Southgate and Ben White

White has not played for England since leaving the Qatar World Cup early (Picture: Getty)

Rice continued: ‘If you know him as a person and as a player like I do, he’s such a good guy.

‘He’s such a good guy and he’s an unbelievable footballer. Gareth dealt with it this week, spoke about it. We’ve obviously not been going into the training grounds, so I haven’t spoken to Ben on a one-to-one level about it.

‘It’s hard to know what’s going on. Obviously Ben made this decision, obviously doesn’t want to play for England at this moment in time.

‘Playing for England, it’s the greatest honour you could ever have. Hopefully with the quality he can bring to this side we can get him back in.’

He added: ‘I know him and Gareth spoke internally about it. So I don’t know too much of the ins and outs.’

White has been a long way down the right-back pecking order despite his strong form for the Gunners, but injuries to the likes of Trent Alexander-Arnold, Kieran Trippier and Reece James have brought him back into Southgate’s thinking.

The situation was compounded by Kyle Walker suffering a hamstring problem early on against Brazil, with Aston Villa’s Ezri Konsa tasked with defending Vinicius Jr on his international debut.

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