Mikel Arteta has given one reason why Gareth Southgate should have called up Ben White for England duty, while the manager also spoke about Emile Smith Rowe’s fitness.
White has been in impressive form for Arsenal so far this season, helping them to win five out of their first six Premier League games. In this run they have also kept clean sheets against Crystal Palace and Bournemouth, which is partly down to White.
The 24-year-old has won four England caps up to this point. He made his Three Lions debut against Austria in June last year, and has featured against Romania, Switzerland and Ivory Coast since then.
All four of his international outings have resulted in wins for England.
However, White will not feature in the upcoming Nations League matches versus Italy and Germany later this month. This is because Southgate has left him out of the 28-man squad.
Conor Coady, Eric Dier, Marc Guehi, Harry Maguire, John Stones and Fikayo Tomori are the centre-backs who have been selected.
White can also play on the right side of defence. But Southgate seemingly doesn’t need him there after choosing Trent Alexander-Arnold, Reece James, Kieran Trippier and Kyle Walker instead.
The snub is worrying for White as he is desperate to represent England at the Qatar World Cup. This is Southgate’s final selection before he picks his squad for the tournament, which begins in November.
Mikel Arteta reacts to Ben White snub
Arsenal face fellow London side Brentford on Sunday at 12:00. Ahead of the clash, Arteta was asked about White’s rejection at a press conference.
He thinks the defender could have been useful to Southgate due to his versatility.
“He’s played in both positions [centre-half and right-back],” Arteta said (via football.london). “Sometimes he’s been selected, sometimes not.
“I think if you have a versatile player who can play at the level Ben can, in my opinion, that’s something any manager would want. But that’s Gareth’s decision.”
Another player to miss out on international duty is White’s team-mate Smith Rowe. The attacker has made three senior appearances for England and also represents their U21s regularly.
But he didn’t make the U21 squad due to a groin problem. When asked about the player, Arteta said: “That’s been an ongoing issue that he’s had.
“He’s had some discomfort in the groin area and hasn’t had any continuity this season. We’re trying to help him in any way we can because we need him.”
Arteta avoids giving wider injury update
Arteta was also expected to speak about the fitness of Thomas Partey and Oleksandr Zinchenko.
Partey is recovering from a minor thigh problem. Zinchenko, meanwhile, will be out for two weeks due to a calf injury.
Mikel Arteta didn’t talk about the pair though, instead saying: “Unfortunately that day will be tomorrow when we have the last training session and today there’s not much to give.”
It remains to be seen whether Partey will be fit in time for the game against Brentford. However, his injury is only small and this means he should return to the Arsenal squad after the international break.
The length of Zinchenko’s treatment means he will be back in time for the north London derby against Tottenham on October 1. This is about as good injury news as Arsenal fans could receive regarding the Ukrainian.