The 2022 World Cup incident that led to Ben White’s England exile has Reveiled


Ben White’s continued England absence began with a comment from assistant manager Steve Holland alleging a lack of interest in football from the Arsenal defender, a report has claimed.

The Gunners right-back has enjoyed a fine run of form in recent months and, with manager Gareth Southgate struggling for fit full-backs, looked a certainty to be included in the national team squad for friendlies against Brazil and Belgium.

However, it soon emerged White had made himself unavailable for selection, having not been included in an England squad since the 2022 World Cup when he left early due to ‘personal reasons’.

The Telegraph report an altercation White had with Holland in Qatar led to the former Brighton star’s self-imposed exile.

Holland is claimed to have asked Kyle Walker a question about Manchester City’s performance the previous season.

When he popped the same query to White, he said he did not know the answer.

Holland then allegedly claimed White was not sufficiently interested in football in front of his Three Lions teammates.

Southgate himself shot down reports of a falling out between the pair when commenting on White’s absence earlier this week, insisting: “The other thing I would say is there’s no issue between us at all and never any issue with Steve Holland because that has been mentioned and I don’t like that.”

Southgate added that White will have to own his decision but claimed the door remains open for the 26-year-old to return to the fold when he is ready.

Back in 2021, White revealed he rarely watched football as a child and still seldom watches games.

Ahead of a game against Crystal Palace which saw Patrick Vieira return to Arsenal, White told Sky Sports: “No, I never watched football when I was younger, still don’t now. I just loved the game, I was always playing it – never watching it. So I don’t know too much about older generations.

“I know [Vieira] was a very good player. But I wouldn’t know the details. I’m quite busy, I’m always doing something. I watch myself for analytical reasons. I watch England, maybe. I just wouldn’t just sit down and watch a game.”

White has made four appearances for England, last featuring for his country in March 2022 in clashes with Switzerland and Ivory Coast.

What we know

  • White wasn’t included in England’s squad for March friendlies against Brazil and Belgium
  • In-form Arsenal star hasn’t played for Three Lions in two years and left 2022 World Cup early
  • Rumours of rift with assistant manager Steve Holland were dismissed by Gareth Southgate.

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