Southgate reveals why Arsenal star White is not in England squad; insists Phillips ‘hasn’t been good enough’

Joe Williams
England internationals Jordan Henderson, Ben White and Kalvin Phillips
Gareth Southgate has been discussing Jordan Henderson, Ben White and Kalvin Phillips.

Gareth Southgate has revealed that Arsenal defender Ben White has made it clear he doesn’t “want to be considered for England squads at this time”.

The Arsenal right-back has been in brilliant form for the Gunners this season, helping Mikel Arteta’s side to the top of the Premier League and into the quarter-finals of the Champions League.

Southgate: White didn’t want to be considered for England

And Southgate admits that he would have called him up for their international friendlies against Brazil and Belgium this month but Arsenal director Edu phoned the England boss to tell him White doesn’t want to be considered.

“Clearly on form I can’t sit here and say he doesn’t deserve to be in,” Southgate explained.

“We, John McDermott and I, had a call from Edu (Arsenal sporing director) last week (and he) said Ben didn’t want to be considered for England squads at this time.

“For me that is a great shame. He is a player we took to the Euros, a player we took to the World Cup and I spoke to him post-Qatar because I wanted to pick him.

READ MORE: Kalvin decline: Southgate ignores ‘agreement’ as disastrous West Ham loan costs Phillips his Euros place

“He is not available to us and there is no issue between us at all and I also should say there is never any issue with (coach) Steve Holland because that has been mentioned in articles and I don’t like that.

“I want that door wide open. He would be in this squad but he’s not available to us and I have to focus on who can help us.”

Kalvin Phillips has been dropped by Southgate after a torrid run of form since he joined West Ham on loan in January.

The midfielder was at fault for a goal on his debut against Bournemouth before he was sent off at Nottingham Forest last month and hooked at half-time of Sunday’s 2-2 draw at home to Burnley.

Southgate added: “Well, I think he knows exactly what we think of him. A good version of him is an important player for us and that’s why we’ve supported him as we have.

“Unfortunately his form hasn’t been good enough and I’ve spoken to him about that. He understands.

“He has all the attributes to force his way back in. He just needs to find that rhythm and confidence because there is an outstanding player in there.”

Southgate: It’s ‘good to see’ Henderson back in Europe

Jordan Henderson moved back to Europe in the winter to join Ajax following a disastrous spell at Saudi Arabian side Al-Ettifaq.

On Henderson’s call-up despite playing outside the top five leagues in Europe, Southgate continued: “It’s good to see him playing back in a league that’s probably easier for us to assess, and of course he’s involved in European football. It’s now easier for us to see the level he’s operating at.”

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