Ben White leaves the World Cup squad for personal reasons
Arsenal and England defender Ben White has left the England camp in Qatar for ‘personal reasons’ and the statement confirmed that he will not return to the team.
England reached the last 16 of the World Cup in Qatar after beating rivals Wales 3-0 in the final group stage match. The first match victory against Iran saw them jump to the top of the table and despite only being drawn against the USA, Gareth Southgate’s side remained top and will now face AFCON winners Senegal in the last 16.
However, as England prepare for the knockout matches, they will be without a member of the original 26-man squad. Arsenal defender Ben White has left the England camp and is not expected to return to the Middle East for “personal reasons”. White was not selected for the first two matches against Iran and the United States and then missed England’s victory over Wales due to illness.
Here’s everything we know about Ben White’s departure from the England camp…
Who is Ben White?
Born in Poole, White began his career with Southampton and Brighton & Hove Albion. He made his debut for the club in a League Cup match in 2016 and was loaned out to Newport County, Peterborough and Leeds United before joining Arsenal in 2021.
White made his first-team debut for Arsenal in August 2021 and this season, he has started all 14 Premier League matches, helping his club to the top of the table before the Christmas break.
He was named in England’s provisional 33-man squad for UEFA Euro 2020, but was subsequently left out of the confirmed tournament squad. He made his debut for England in June 2021 during a friendly match against Austria, replacing Jack Grealish in the second half.
what was said
A statement from the English camp said: “Ben White left England’s training base in Al Wakrah and returned to his country for personal reasons. The Arsenal defender is not expected to return to the squad for the remainder of the tournament. We ask that the player’s privacy be respected at this moment.”
Arsenal then tweeted: “We are all with you Ben.”
Can Gareth Southgate replace Ben White?
Southgate will not call up a replacement for the 25-year-old as it is now too late to add any new squad members. Primarily playing a central defensive position, White’s first-choice captaincy for the Three Lions was Harry Maguire and John Stones, with Conor Cody and Eric Dier likely back-ups.
In addition, White has also featured at right-back for the Gunners this season, but with Kyle Walker, Kieran Trippier and Trent Alexander-Arnold all in the squad, Southgate will have nothing to fear when it comes to selection options.
What time is the next England match?
Harry Kane and his teammates will meet Senegal in the last 16 matches on Sunday, December 4, with the match starting at 7 pm GMT. The match is due to be shown on ITV, with many England fans already fearing the ‘ITV curse’. England’s group stage victory came when the matches were shown on BBC, while the disappointing tie was broadcast on ITV. Since 1998, England have played 28 live matches on ITV in major tournaments, with a win rate of 21.5%.
Fans who are unable to watch the action live or on TV can also stream the match via ITVX. Viewers must sign up for a free account to watch the event.