International Soccer

Mikel Arteta reacts to Ben White’s decision to step back from England squad

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta hopes defender Ben White can feature for his country in the future after he chose to miss out on England’s recent fixtures.

White confirmed prior to the March internationals that he did not want to be considered for Three Lions duty, with reports later claiming this was due to a falling out with assistant manager Steve Holland.

Arteta addressed the media on Friday ahead of the Gunners’ huge Premier League fixture at Manchester City this weekend and he was asked about White’s decision.

“He has received a lot of love. You just have to see what his teammates and everyone close to him in football says,” Arteta said of White.

“Hopefully he can represent his country in the best way possible one day. That’s up to him.”

Declan Rice, Ben White, Eddie Nketiah

Rice also spoke about White’s decision / Shaun Botterill/GettyImages

Teammate Declan Rice, who captained England for the first time against Belgium, spoke on the situation, branding White a ‘quality player’.

He told BBC Radio 5 Live : “It’s 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. Hopefully he changes his mind.”

White’s decision to step away from England came as a shock considering his fantastic performances for title-chasing Arsenal as of late. The versatile defender has made 27 appearances in the Premier League this season, bagging two goals while doing so.

He’s become a vital character in Arsenal’s defence, helping the squad to earn 11 clean sheets this season – the most of any club in the league.

Arsenal are back in action on Sunday when they face Man City in what looks to be one of the games of the season.

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