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Wednesday, April 17, 2024
FootballRice hoping for England U-turn from Arsenal team-mate White

Rice hoping for England U-turn from Arsenal team-mate White

Declan Rice is hopeful his Arsenal team-mate Ben White can be persuaded to conduct a U-turn on his decision to make himself unavailable for selection by England.

White has enjoyed a fine campaign at club level for Premier League leaders Arsenal, but he has not featured in the England setup since he left the 2022 World Cup early.

The Football Association put White’s early departure from Qatar down to “personal reasons”, with reports later suggesting he had been involved in a bust-up with a member of Gareth Southgate’s coaching staff.

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When naming his squad for this month’s friendlies against Brazil and Belgium, Southgate revealed Arsenal sporting director Edu had been in contact to tell him White did not wish to be considered.

While Rice is not aware of the exact reasons for White’s decision, he hopes it may not be final.

“When I get back I can have a conversation with him and see the ins and outs and see what he thinks,” said Rice, who will captain England against Belgium on Tuesday.

“I would love him to come. I think Bukayo (Saka) would. I think Aaron Ramsdale would. I think we’re all going to be on him when we get back.

“Hopefully, he can change his mind but I don’t know the ins and outs of that conversation. The only thing I can say is, it’s Ben’s life. It’s Ben’s decision.

“We can’t argue with what he wants to do. Of course, there’s always going to be people writing stuff, having their opinions on what they think.”

Rice believes White’s versatility could enable him to become a key part of the Three Lions’ squad, with the 26-year-old having impressed at both centre-back and right-back for the Gunners.

“I see him every day, he is such a good character. For people that don’t know, he’s such a good character, very composed, very level-headed,” Rice added.

“When he’s on a football pitch, he will do anything to win but also I think for England as well, he can play as a centre-back and at right-back, as an inverted full-back. Now he’s a really key tool that we could have.

“If you know him as a person and as a player like I do, he’s such a good guy. He’s such a good guy and he’s an unbelievable footballer.

“Playing for England is the greatest honour you could ever have. So hopefully, with the quality that he has and the quality he can bring to this side, we can get him back in.”

Harry Carr
Harry Carr
Harry is a freelance sports journalist with experience of working for the Racing Post, Stats Perform, Opta Analyst and more, covering major events across all sports but holding a particular love for the beautiful game.
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