Jermaine Jenas highlights the one benefit of Ben White’s England snub | Football

Arsenal defender Ben White has asked not to be considered for England selection (Picture: Getty)

Jermaine Jenas has described Ben White’s England snub as ‘strange’ but believes it ‘creates an opportunity for somebody else’, with Jarrad Branthwaite in line to make his international debut this month.

On Thursday, Gareth Southgate announced his squad for England’s Euro 2024 warm-up matches against Brazil and Belgium at Wembley and the Arsenal defender was notably absent from the 25-man party.

White has been in the form of his life at Arsenal this season, with Mikel Arteta’s high-flying Gunners sitting top of the Premier League table and through to the Champions League quarter-finals for the first time in 14 years.

The 26-year-old has not featured for England since departing England’s training camp early at the Qatar World Cup in 2022, when reports of a heated altercation with Steve Holland hit the headlines.

Southgate went on to explain that White has requested not to be considered for selection through Arsenal’s sporting director, Edu, and it appears highly unlikely the ex-Brighton and Leeds star will be included for this summer’s eagerly anticipated tournament in Germany.

Asked if White was available, the England head coach told reporters: ‘Look, it’s absolutely the question you should ask because clearly on form I can’t sit here and say he doesn’t deserve to be in.

‘We, [FA technical director] John McDermott, had a call from Edu last week to say that Ben did not want to be considered for the England squad at this time.

England boss Gareth Southgate

Southgate’s England welcome Brazil and Belgium to Wembley this month (Picture: Getty)

‘For me that’s a great shame. He’s a player that I really like. He’s a player that we took to a Euros when he was at Brighton, a player that we took to the World Cup.

‘I spoke to him post-Qatar because I was keen to pick him and there was clearly reticence from his side.

‘I don’t know fully why that is, but I have to respect that.

White signed a new contract with the Gunners last week (Picture: Getty)

Unsurprisingly, White’s England snub has proved massively divisive, with Harry Redknapp blasting the defender’s ‘disgusting’ decision, but Jenas is more understanding and believes the Arsenal star may just want to focus on his club form.

‘It is strange. I think not everybody’s patriotic, and I think we have to accept that,’ former Tottenham and England midfielder Jenas told Mail Sport.

‘I think Ben has his own reasons why he feels it’s best for him to not be selected for England.

Jermaine Jenas

Jenas believes White’s decision has opened the door for Everton’s Branthwaite (Picture: Getty)

‘For all we know, him not being selected with England has such a positive impact on his club career, and he wants to focus on that.

‘Not everybody’s the same in football. We like to kind of pigeonhole players like, “You’ve got to fight for your country”.

‘It might be a footballing reason. It might be like, “What’s the point in me going if I’m not going to play?”’

Branthwaite could make his senior England debut this month (Picture: Getty)

Jenas feels White’s decision has opened the door for uncapped duo Branthwaite and Ezri Konsa, who could both make their debuts at Wembley this month.

‘It creates an opportunity for somebody else,’ he added.

‘Braithwaite’s come into the fold. He’s had a good season at Everton in a tough situation. He’s got the opportunity and I think that’s the way to look at it.

‘I think Ben White’s having one of his best years as a footballer.

‘I understand why Gareth did what he did because he needed to give reasoning as to why he’s not picked him because it’s quite obvious that he’s been brilliant lately.

‘I hope that there’s no negative fallback for Ben because he’s been brilliant for Arsenal and I think he’s got to decide what’s best for his career, nobody else.’

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