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FootballSouthgate: Door remains open for White to make England return

Southgate: Door remains open for White to make England return

Gareth Southgate insists the door remains open for Ben White to end his self-imposed England exile, though he admits it will be tough for the Arsenal defender to make his squad for Euro 2024.

White has not played for the Three Lions since leaving the 2022 World Cup early, with the Football Association putting his departure down to “personal reasons”.

Reports later suggested White had been involved in a bust-up with Southgate’s assistant Steve Holland while in Qatar.

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White has enjoyed a fine campaign at club level and would likely have been considered for England’s recent friendlies against Brazil and Belgium, but Arsenal sporting director Edu informed Southgate that the defender did not wish to be picked ahead of the latest squad being named.

Gunners team-mate Declan Rice has expressed hope that White may change his position, and Southgate has refused to rule out a return for the 26-year-old.

“It’s really for Ben now,” Southgate told reporters. “As I’ve said, the door is open.

“Although that’s clearly difficult ahead of the Euros, when he’s missed all the qualifying campaign and you’ve got other players that have played all the way through.”

 

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Southgate is set to name his provisional squad for Euro 2024 on May 21, with his final 23-man party due to be submitted by June 7.

UEFA allowed teams to select 26 players for Euro 2021 due to the impact of COVID-19, with FIFA extending that measure to cover the Qatar World Cup.

While squad sizes for this summer’s tournament are supposed to revert to 23 players, Southgate will push the case for an enlarged party at a meeting of coaches in Dusseldorf next month.

“There is one more UEFA meeting where there’s been a little bit of talk among some of the coaches about possibly increasing that,” Southgate said.

“We’ve got to make the best decisions with what we know and some of those currently are going to be medical decisions.

“We’ve been able to get those right in the previous tournaments. We’ve been able to give injured players time. But with 23 that’s definitely more difficult.”

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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