Gary Neville says Gareth Southgate “would get absolutely killed” if he selected Ben White to play for England at the World Cup.
White has been in fine form for high-flying Arsenal this term, playing at right-back in a back four for Mikel Arteta’s side.
White was left out of Southgate’s recent Nations League squad, with his switch to full-back from centre-back undoubtedly playing a part in that decision.
While England have an embarrassment of riches at right-back, where the debate rumbles on as to whether Trent Alexander-Arnold can get a place in the squad, let alone the team, Southgate is struggling for depth at centre-back.
Harry Maguire has been a stalwart throughout Southgate’s reign but his display against Germany and his form in general for Manchester United has led many to question his place in the team.
Discussing the possibility of Southgate switching to a back four at the World Cup, Neville says Southgate would get “killed” if he played White at right-back to shore up the defence.
“If you went to a back four at the moment and you left Harry Maguire out, it would be Stones and Dier. And there would be two full-backs who would be flying on like crazy. You might sit Kyle Walker in a little bit. I wouldn’t think for me, that would be the right thing to do to play a back four,” Neville said.
“I think Ben White could come into it now and play tight as a right-back as he’s doing at Arsenal and narrow your back four. But then you lose something in the fact you’re playing Ben White at right-back.
“You’ve got Walker, Reece James, Alexander-Arnold and Trippier to call upon, Gareth would get absolutely killed for that.”
His thoughts were part of a wider discussion over Alexander-Arnold and the criticism he is receiving for his defensive displays for Liverpool this season.
Neville is a big fan of the full-back, likening him to Brazilian legend Cafu, but gave Alexander-Arnold a four-point plan to improve defensively.