Claims of a Ben White bust-up in the England camp don’t appear to stand up to scrutiny, despite his departure from the World Cup tournament.
Ben White left the England camp last month, with no explanation given to the public other than that it was for “personal reasons”.
This opened the door to speculation, with the Daily Star alleging that White was involved in a bust-up with England assistant manager Steve Holland. They also claim he struggled to mix with his England teammates.
The Star admit they received no comment from the FA or White’s agent on the story, and make sure to call it an “alleged” spat.
But more than that, the details of the story just don’t seem to add up.
Let’s start with the original statements from the FA and Arsenal.
The FA wrote that White had returned home for personal reasons, asking that his privacy is respected. Arsenal added, “we’re all with you, Ben”. There was certainly no implication of a disciplinary issue.
When asked about White and Raheem Sterling, Bukayo Saka said: “Obviously family’s always the most important thing in all of our lives so they needed to go and be with them. That’s what they had to do. So we support them, of course.”
Then there’s Arsenal’s current trip to Dubai. If White had left the England camp over an issue with their management, there’s no reason he couldn’t join Mikel Arteta’s squad on tour.
Yet he’s not involved in Dubai, suggesting a different problem unrelated to England. Matt Turner and Thomas Partey have already travelled to Dubai, having left the World Cup later than White did.
As for the claims that White struggled to mix with his England teammates, that just seems bizarre. For a start, White knows Saka and Aaron Ramsdale very well from his time with Arsenal, so he’s got at least a couple of friends in the camp.
🗣️ “Oooooooh Benjamin.”
Bukayo Saka and Benjamin White link up with England. ❤️ pic.twitter.com/zjriYwxTz9
— TheAFCnewsroom (@TheAFCnewsroom) November 15, 2022
White is also close with former Leeds United teammate Kalvin Phillips. The pair went on holiday to Mykonos together last year, and they could regularly be seen together in England training photos last month.
On top of all that, this is hardly the first time White has been involved with England. He spent the entire Euro 2020 tournament with the squad, and he was also involved with them in March.
The claims just don’t make much sense from an outsider’s perspective, so until we have a more concrete report on the issue, it’s probably best to ignore them.