Arsenal star promises to ‘speak to Ben White’ over England future after Southgate conversation

Ciaran McCarthy
Declan Rice, Ben White, England
Declan Rice has promised to speak to Ben White over his England future

Arsenal star Declan Rice has promised to “speak to Ben White” when they are back at the club in the hope that he’ll “change his mind on England” after speaking to Gareth Southgate about his future.

White has been piled on in the media after deciding he did not want to be picked by the Three Lions. Southgate suggested he’d have picked him on good club form in his latest squad, but the defender made it clear he would not play.

The reaction to that decision has been largely negative, with the player being called out for not wanting to represent his country, but reports of a fallout with assistant coach Steve Holland also tell part of the story.

In any case, while he’d likely have played a part against Brazil last time out following Kyle Walker’s injury, it does not look as if White will put on an England shirt any time soon unless he changes his mind.

His Arsenal teammate, Rice, believes there’s a chance that happens, as he wants to talk to White about his decision when he’s back at the club.

“When I go back to Arsenal, I’ll speak to Ben White… and hopefully he does change his mind on England,” Rice told media ahead of England’s next game.

“It’d be a great addition to the squad. But it’s Ben’s decision and Ben’s life.”

The Three Lions midfielder also suggests White and Southgate have spoken about his desire not to be selected.

“I know Ben and Gareth spoke internally about it… I just hope he changes his mind. He’s such a good guy, he’s an unbelievable footballer,” he added.

According to reports, the Arsenal defender went through his club’s sporting director, Edu, to inform Southgate of his decision.

As such, it’s not clear if he and the England boss have actually had a conversation about his reasons for not wanting to be picked, and the longevity of that decision.

Rice, who will captain the Three Lions on his 50th cap against Belgium, is already displaying the diplomacy that comes with captaincy by attempting to ensure a star player is on his side.

He has already been hailed as a leader at Arsenal, and will now have the chance to show his true leadership qualities on the biggest stage.

READ MORE: Arsenal: Ben White slammed for ‘playing cards on the beach’ while England lost to Brazil