Opinion: I’m backing Arteta over Southgate on the Ben White issue

Ben White and England by Dan

The Daily Telegraph have confirmed what many already suspected. The reason Ben White left the World Cup early and has since rejected international selection is a conversation with Steve Holland that the defender felt was ‘disrespectful’, especially as it happened in front of his peers.

Gareth Southgate will feel the leak of these sources is a blow to his reputation as he’s always been credited with his good relationship with the media. It’s what prevents journalists from pressing him on certain issues, but clearly Telegraph Sport have had this story for months and were waiting for the perfect time to report it.

How the industry works is the FA would have been made aware the paper had this exclusive and failed to find a deal for their silence.

Just in time for the manager’s pre match press conference where he will now be accused of lying to the public.

First Southgate said that it was personal reasons why our defender left Qatar early. Second that the right back failed to converse with Southgate why he was reserved to play for him again. Third the insistence this week that Holland had nothing to do with any issues.

In reality, Telegraph’s sources say that in a team meeting Kyle Walker and White (who play in the same position) were asked something tactically about their respective seasons. While Walker’s answer was detailed, White said he didn’t know.

The coach translated the reason for this as White’s being ‘not sufficiently interested in football’.

Player and staff had a further 1 to 1 chat the same day. There is no talk of a row, with the coaching team believing the debate had been resolved. When the 26-year-old, days later, insisted he fly home, all parties learnt how sensitive he had taken the comments. Southgate was either unable or unwilling to offer the man management needed.

The Telegraph stress that White’s decision has never been based on game time.

There will be those who feel that a sports person should be professional to move on from a disagreement from 15 months ago, especially if it means getting to play at the Euros. That’s how much the player feels disrespected, which begs the question what was said in their private meeting.?

Many players have represented their nation while not liking the coaching staff, but White has always been open about his outlook on the sport. It’s not his interest but his job. It was never his love growing up, just something he happened to be skilled at. A talent that made him and his family rich. Those who have interviewed the player have had it explained tha,t to get the best out of himself, he needs to be able to switch off after training and not take his work home with him.

Arsenal pay his salary. Contractually he’s not obliged to represent his country and clearly, he doesn’t want to be where he’s not appreciated if he can be paid to sit at home instead.

It was questioned if White himself owed Southgate more respect by picking up the phone himself instead of going through Edu?

Yet if this version of events is true Southgate did in fact already know White’s stance.

By keeping quiet, White and Arsenal haven’t lied.

Why many didn’t believe the ‘Personal issue’ thread is that whatever prevented White from being in Doha didn’t stop him almost immediately joining his club in Dubai.

All Arteta would say at the time was: ‘We know the reasons he had to leave the camp. We are delighted to have him back. I know who Ben is, what he needs, what his character is and how happy we all are to have him at the club.”

Going by our bosses non-negotiable principles and the number of players he’s washed his hands of, he wouldn’t tolerate it there was anything wrong with White’s attitude.

I’m going to back Arteta over Southgate on this issue.



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  1. Absolutely SPOT ON Dan and I concur with every word in your excellent article.

    Let’s start supporting our players and manager.
    Southgate must have thought we were all stupid – we’re not and this breaking news proves it 100%.

    Thanks for exposing the cover up!!

    1. Absolutely Ken1945.

      I just posted the full story i read, a little further down this thread.
      Worth a look, i must say.

      Southgate & co have not handled this well at all.

  2. Southgate for all his much vaunted people skills, is clearly biased in this case. He owes his allegiance to Holland and not to White.
    Twats like Jamie O’Hara can’t see the truth or have their heads so far up their backside that they will continue to mouth off.

  3. I read this in today’s Mail, and it’s pretty much the same story, but one thing revealed right at the end of the article was that Ben/Edu turned down England this time AFTER he’d been selected, not before.

      1. “It’s not the only time [a player has turned down a call up].”
        Southgate’s words, which make it clear that White was called up BEFORE turning it down.

  4. If I have EVER agreed MORE with one of DANS articles than this one, then clearly I have forgotten when that unlikely occurance WAS!
    Splendid DAN!


  5. Am going to back the Spaniard over Southgate on this one, what a terrible mananager the Englishman has been on the issue having ample time to find a face saving formula.

    It obvious something rude was said, which White did and still not taken kindly,

  6. I am sure that coach must have been very disrespectful to get Ben that worked up – we all have had an experience of a teacher or a boss who would at times say hurting stuff.
    Kudos to Ben for standing up to a bully – For Arsenal fans, we are selfishly happy to have him around train & focus on City.

    Hope he gives us a 9/10 performance in that match to shut haters!

  7. Agreed. Ben’s decision though, might cost him a winners medal at the Euros, because i think England will the tournament. Anyway, all the best to Blanco. COYG!!!

  8. It is the player’s choice whether to play or not, the reasons do not matter. Ben White does not need to explain his reason(s) to anyone, and I am glad he has remained silent on this issue.

    Not everything is for public consumption or judgement, so I applaud Ben White for his decision and his stance on remaining silent, and not feeding the publicity monster.

  9. According to the verified Twitter big account Con Harrison @ConMarbleHalls..

    “Now it’s being reported elsewhere, i guess i can elaborate on it now. It was a defenders meeting during the World Cup in Qatar where Holland was asking Man City pair Stones and Walker about the style in which they decide what patterns to play depending on the press. To which they explained briefly.

    Others were asked from different clubs but didn’t have the answers.
    When Holland got to Ben White, White’s answer was that he wasn’t sure. To which Holland replied “Of course u wouldn’t know, you’re too worried about other things rather than football”.
    Was a very awkward exchange after which other players felt uncomfortable about it.

    Notably, Connor Coady felt the comment was harsh and has since come out to defend Ben White and his personality due to speculations he didn’t fit in with the squad.”

    So fellow Just Arsenal members, there u have it in details.
    Southgate should really be ashamed of himself over the way he’s handled this issue.

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