England coach's 'comment to Ben White emerges' after Arsenal star turned back on Three Lions

England coach's 'comment to Ben White emerges' after Arsenal star turned back on Three Lions

WATCH NOW: Sports round-up as reason behind Ben White's England decision emerges

Lewis Winter

By Lewis Winter

Published: 20/03/2024

- 20:32

Updated: 20/03/2024

- 20:46

The Gunners right-back has chosen against being selected in recent England squads

Details of the altercation which led to Ben White exiling himself from international duty have reportedly emerged.

It is reported that England assistant coach Steve Holland questioned White in front of other members of the squad at the World Cup in Qatar.

Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate revealed last week that the versatile defender had opted against being available for international football.

The 26-year-old has had a superb season for Premier League leaders Arsenal and Southgate moved to dismiss the belief that he was ignoring him.

Ben White

England coach Steve Holland reportedly said Ben White was not sufficiently interested in football


Southgate also insisted there was no ongoing issue between White and any of his coaching staff, including Holland.

However, The Telegraph says White's initial grievance towards England duty stemmed from a conversation with Holland.

White left the World Cup early in late November 2022, with the FA citing 'personal reasons' behind his exit.

But the report says his decision to depart was due to the interaction with Holland at a team meeting.

It is claimed that Holland asked Kyle Walker a question relating to Manchester City from the previous season.

He then asked the same question to White about Arsenal but the former Brighton star was unable to give an answer.

The report then claims that Holland responded by saying that White didn't have an answer because he was 'not sufficiently interested in football'.

It was that moment which is said to have ultimately sparked White into leaving a few days later.

White has previously revealed he doesn't watch football when he is at home.

But the remark from Holland clearly didn't go down well and he hasn't played for his country since.

The pair didn't have a row or clash, which led to Southgate dismissing those claims at a press conference last week.

GB News has requested comment from the FA, Arsenal and White's representatives.


Gareth Southgate and Steve Holland

Gareth Southgate played down talk of a rift between Ben White and England coach Steve Holland


Southgate also revealed that he spoke to White in the months after the World Cup and said he was not wanting to be picked.

Southgate said: "I spoke to him post-Qatar because I was keen to pick him and there was clearly reticence on his side. I don't know fully why that is and I have to respect that.

"I want to leave the door open for him because he's a good player and I think he's a player who can make a difference to England. But he's not available to us.

"The only thing is there is no issue between us at all.

Gareth Southgate and Ben White

Gareth Southgate insists the door is still open for Ben White with England


"And also I should say there's never any issue with Steve Holland. That has been mentioned in articles, I don't like that.

"People can talk about me and I have to accept that things get said that are false about me.

"For whatever reason in this role you have to stomach that but I'm not prepared for that to happen for a key member of my coaching team because that is not the reason Ben is unavailable for selection.

"100 per cent I want that door wide open. He would be in this squad but is not available to us so I have to focus on those that can help us."

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