Gareth Southgate has explained why Ben White is in the England squad this month, and why he wasn’t called up earlier in the season.
Before signing for Arsenal, Ben White was called up to the England squad for a couple of pre-Euros friendlies last June.
The centre-back performed well, and kept his squad spot for the actual tournament. Though he didn’t make an appearance, as John Stones and Harry Maguire were preferred, with Kyle Walker dropping into the back-three when Gareth Southgate used one.
After the tournament, White joined Arsenal and quickly made himself a starter, but Southgate didn’t call him up in September, October, or November.
With the World Cup coming up later this year, it’s important White makes his breakthrough sooner rather than later, and he’s back in the England squad this month.
Southgate has explained why they’ve brought White back into the fold, as well as justifying their decision to leave him out in late 2021.
“It is easy to picture how he would slot into the way we would like to play,” Southgate said.
“He’s asked to progress the ball and play under pressure from the back & has that ability, because of his speed, to be able to defend high up the pitch.
“Very often in our games, we’re going to be in control of matches and we’re going to have to deal with quick transitions.
“So he’s got a lot of those attributes, I think he’s playing a big club where there is pressure to perform and that was a good experience as well.”
“We liked what he did in the summer,” Southgate continued. “He was a bit unfortunate not to be in the squad in the early part of the season, we felt it was good to let him settle in at Arsenal and adjust to things.
“He’s got used to the way that they want to play and is having a very good season.”
White has certainly settled well, with Arsenal proving a formidable defensive opponent this campaign.
As Southgate points out, White playing for one of the Premier League’s top clubs has helped him settle into the same style of football the England manager wants him to play. Now he just needs the chances to show what he can do.