The Ben White conundrum by Dan Smith
When Ben White returned home early from the World Cup, media were asked to, ‘respect his privacy.’
Whatever the personal situation it didn’t stop him immediately joining up with his club abroad for mid-winter/warm weather training.
Both Arsenal and England have done a great job of protecting the player from having to answer any questions on the subject.
So when Gareth Southgate submitted his squad for the start of the Euro 2024 qualifiers without White’s name, the FA’s PR Department would know the sensitive topic would come up again
This is a profession that people get paid a lot of money to know how to handle PR and yet it’s what hasn’t been said that is telling.
How the industry works is that there will be those in the press fully aware of why White returned home early from Qatar.
Normally there are either legal reasons why that can’t be reported, or a manager has such a good relationship with journalists a compromise is reached, e.g. don’t run this story and I’ll give you an exclusive on this, etc.
Those relationships have been the current Three Lions boss’s strengths compared to those before him, and equally those In the media don’t want to upset (and ruin) that working bond out of fear of missing out.
It’s better to work with managers who are happy to open up to you, rather than being standoffish.
That’s though how rumours of the defender falling out with Steve Holland and in general being a bit of a loner in the English camp gets leaked out.
You can see those sources are the less high profile ones which might not have any influence behind the scenes.
A Talk Sport might have sources, but they are not confirmed by Sky Sports or the BBC as an example.
This week though when the opportunity was there to squash these theories, Southgate didn’t exactly jump at the chance to put an end to them.
Compare that to how he wanted to stress that Sterling’s exclusion was purely fitness based.
He didn’t want anyone to think Sterling had been dropped based on form, but was less concerned about what was assumed regarding White.
With his options at right back, Southgate can afford to discard our defender and not have to watch his words.
Not when he’s got Trippier, James and Walker as alternatives.
So if there has been a breakdown in relationships with White and coaching staff it’s not a priority to fix them.
If the 25 year old is struggling to fit in socially, then his importance to the team means it’s not an area that needs addressing .
If your footballing opinion is there are simply better full backs then White then that’s okay, it’s not a crazy opinion.
White was a centre back up till this campaign, where other right backs have played that role longer under the current regime.
White’s footballing brain might also count against him, with Arteta not simply asking him to stay out wide but to tactically know when to cover in the middle.
I think if you’re selecting a squad for a tournament, White’s versatility is an advantage, for two fixtures in 4 days it’s a convenient excuse.
It’s worth remembering he has two club teammates part of the furniture in Three Lion squads with both Ramsdale and Saka known for their personalities. Saka’s spelling challenge got lots of views on YouTube during the World Cup, so he’s not struggling to fit in .
So In theory he should have two friends (not that all teammates are buddies of course).
The moral question is how much do we as fans have a right to know ?
Your answer is subjective.
I don’t need to know about anything regarding his family for example.
Any illness is his right to be kept confidential.
Yet remember; whatever caused him to not be with his country abroad didn’t prevent him being with his club abroad.
I think I do have a right to know if my national side are leaving people to feel isolated and not part of things?
I think I’m allowed to question Harry Kane as a captain and ask what he’s done to help White?
Especially when we hear for years how great the spirit is in the English camp. I do remember him being called up when he was at Brighton and watching a video of players arriving to meet up.
I recall then that everyone went into their little cliques, and no senior players bothered to proper make him feel at ease.
Anyone who’s listened to a Ben White interview can understand how he might come across as not passionate about the sport.
This is a man who admits he doesn’t like football or watches it, he just happens to be skilful at it.
Maybe when your weighing up your choice of right backs these things count against you?
Yet he’s settled enough at club level to play most weeks, keeping a very good player on the bench.
Not just is he playing regular first team football (not everyone in Southgate’s squad can say that) he’s playing for the League leaders, a side 11 games away from being Champions.
So if his attitude is suffice enough for Arsenal and a manager who won’t tolerate anyone not adhering to certain values and standards, then why is he not fitting into the England system?
His club are excelling with him a focal point, his country are not.
Maybe he’s made this point?
Maybe this didn’t go down well?
There will be Gooners who will be happy with as many Gunners having a rest as possible in the next two weeks and I get that.
Why do you think Ben White won’t be on International Duty ?
Purely footballing reasons?
Or something else?
How much do we have a right to know?
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The writer is stirring up an ants nest , one that I would rather deal with at the end of this campaign.
Now curiosity is going to kill the cat
Don’t think much need to speculate. There was some type of falling out and he’s not going to be called up under Southgate again. Beneficial to us.
No need to know what happened behind the scene. We just need him to be fit, work well with his teammates at Arsenal and excel in his position
He’s been doing a remarkable job so far in this campaign
While I would love to know what happened in Qatar and why White came home, I don’t feel so entitled that I “have a right to know”. It’s obviously a sensitive matter and apart from the rumour of a falling out with the coach, nothing more has been revealed and that’s how it should be for all parties until they decide otherwise.
That White isn’t included in Southgate’s current squad, particularly so because of his recent form, suggests something unresolved until such times as he does or maybe never does get selected again.
I take a polar opposite viewpoint from DANS vieew that he thinks he and we have a right to know.
I state forcefully that it is none of our business and that ALL humans – provided they are not evil types, using silence to hide their evil activities – which is plainly NOT the case with Ben White, have an unalienable human right to privacy if they wish it. Simply a profound philosophical disagreement between my view and DANS!
I also mention, as it is relevant , that in Dans case, he constantly needs “food” for his regular articles.
I prefer to write only when I have something of my own to say.
So as you continually insult everyone of our writers, that is “having something of your own to say”‘
You are becoming ever more spiteful in my opinion, and I prefer to write only when I have something of my own to say.
PAT I was under the impression, until you let the cat out of the bag in your post, that writers belonged to the site and all of us who read them and not to you personally;”OUR WRITERS”!
Just proves what an autocrat you consider yourself, my outwitted friend! BTW, if you actually want facts and not just untrue accusations about me , I very often PRAISE WRITERS WHO APPEAR ON JA.
Most of those are ones firmly not under YOUR personal control and who have an above inhouse writers level of football intelligence.
So you are just proving that I am right by saying that all my writers are of LOWER INTELLIGENCE. I prefer my writers to talk about football politely, not be a grumpy old gits that go out of their way to insult everyone. Don’t you ever worry about that you are actually less intelligent than anyone else on the planet? Because your attitude and social skills are seriously lacking in any barriers at all and you need to look in the mirror very closely….
You call me an autocrat? You are a despot and obviously think we are all YOUR writers…..
PAT Once again you choose to misquote me and put your own and deloiberately wrong interpretation on EXACTLY what I said.
I said that “the writers belonged to the site and all who read them” .
That is NOT saying they belong to me and you know its not!
Only people who lose an argument choose to then betray their own intellect by traducing the words of those who oppose their own view. As you do to me very regularly.
One day perhaps, just perhaps , you may quote me accurately and properly But I won’t hold my breath!
And I will await the day you write a comment about the substance of the article rather than insulting the writers
You want substance then? Ok, I ll give you that right now on Shenels article, as long as you promise not to delete my posts that do give actual individual substance, as you so often do.
HERE GOES; Shenel fails to see that AR is instructed by our manager to be aware of a fast break by opponents. As such he is told to wait far out from his goal when the ball is upfield. He did just that when a one in a several thousand occurrence occurred and AR was in no way responsible for not being on his goal line. He was bought as a keeper who has the ability to work as a sweeper keeper and not just a goalline keeper, as LENO WAS, WHICH WAS WHY HE WAS SOLD.
No player nor manager can be responsible for goals such as Sporting scored that night.
That should be clear to all and to Shenel too but it plainly was not.
Now, Mr Censor, allow that fair comment to stand undeleted!
I won’t delete that as you are actually talking about football.
But when you insult a writers opinion and call an article a “bad joke” and say they should be ashamed. JUst BECAUSE YOU DON’T AGREE.
That is so arrogant that you should be ashamed. IN CAPITALS
That’s such a nice way to explain your differing view Jon!
Very few capital letters, no insulting anyone and fully explained…. I guess that’s why Pat allowed it wouldn’t you say?
By the way, I agree with you!!!
Ken One day soon when we next have a long phone call, I will expain things to you about how I see life , which will help you to understand WHY I never suffer fools gladly and am indeed hard on people who are too lazy to think properly.
I DETEST LAZINESS OF BODY AND OF MIND AND FREELY ADMIT IT. I have said so on JA countless times.
Not just the writers.
According to the press, GS said White is further down the pecking order as Walker and Trippier played in the World Cup. There is an embarrassment of riches in White’s position according to Southgate. It’s possible that the return home has impacted on his chances to play for his country IF there was a fallout and if it’s not been resolved too, but it’s not my problem. Its between GS and BW
It’s probably because he isn’t playing at CB for his club, so won’t displace any of Gareth’s favourites in that position, Reece James is the best right back in the world and Southgate has some sort of man crush on Kyle Walker and Keiran Trippier. Tbh I probably wouldn’t pick him either. I think he has been very solid this season but England has much better RBs at its disposal and John Stones is a superior RCB. If we were going to play 3 across the back I might play him then but not in a back 4.
Reece James best right back in the world.
Name a better one. It ain’t Ben White that’s for sure.
Southgate said he has Reece James, Trippier, and Kyle walker in that position and as such won’t be needing the services of our dear Benjamin White.
As far as I’m concerned, that’s great news for me and Arsenal . Tomi is injured, Saliba is injured, the last thing we need is another injured defender or any other first player.
Fans have never had ‘the right to know’ over anything in football, a bizarre concept unique in the business world. Many firms actually inform loyal customers if things are going badly, most want as much input as possible- even if its regularly ignored at boardroom level. Football has never had such pretensions. Fans are seen purely as drones who turn up out of loyalty, and a hard core are relied on to stick with the club through thick and thin. Only recently, when the amount of money pouring into the game has reached epic proportions has the threat of fan action resulted in a response from footballs powers that be. Even then it took mass protests rather than measured input taken before events unfolded to get the result fans, not clubs, wanted. At international level, it’s even more the case. Remember it’s only since 1963 that even England managers picked the team, and fan input is kept at an even greater distance with England. Moreover, certain teams players WILL get picked, regardless of form, condition or even ability. Some real turkeys have turned out regularly for England simply because they played for the football establishments ‘fab three’ (liverpool, utd and spurs) whereas players for other clubs were producing top quality performances week in week out, and were, and are ignored. And then there’s us. Since WW2 any Arsenal player hoping to play for England better be a combination of brazil 58, 70 or 82 if they’re a forward, or germany 74, 90 and italy 82 if they’re a defender, or forget it. Even if they are ‘allowed’into the squad they can expect far less caps than their peers, and even a sniff of an under par performance and that’s their lot. Of Arsenals awesome defence that Graham built only Adam’s could expect to be selected. The epitome of why Arsenal fans themselves are rightly wary of our players being picked is what happened to graham rix. Selected by Greenwood for the 82’ World cup he played well when the team excelled, then struggled as Greenwood vacillated, and finally was blasted by the press and held up as the key reason England went out. Why? Well, he played for arsenal didnt he? As such, we may feel as fans we have a right to know why our players are overlooked, but that particular can of worms is never going to be opened up, after all, does the fa really want to admit to playing favourites
The manager/coach has the right to pick any team, he wants. He is the main man responsible for the results, and as such you have to believe he will pick the team, he thinks will do best.
He can let whatever he thinks is neccessary come into that equation, and he is not obliged to give all his reasons to anyone.
Consequently, we have absolutely no right to demand any explanation.
Also, this type of further spreading rumours is a bit over the line, IMO.
Of course we have a right to expect a manager to explain his selections. We, the fans, either through our tv subscriptions or through the gate, pay his players and his wages. As such, as with in any consumer, which is how we are viewed, we are entitled to know why a product is sub par. If they don’t like that, well, tough. In the days of paying a shilling to get in, yes, they could do what they liked, in the days of billions bring made from the game, sorry, no. If a manager in a business makes bad decisions they have to explain those decisions to their superiors, shareholders and ultimately the buying public. Why are football managers, in an age when football is seen as a core element of the uk economy somehow exempt? Answer, they aren’t. Hence pre match press briefings, a function of that responsibility, and managers bring sacked often within weeks of taking the job, often as a result of fan discontent. You might happily be passive in the face of football taking so much of our money and expecting to be unanswerable, but that’s increasingly a minority view. The England manager is no exception.
Marge, a couple of real hard hitting posts!! Love it!!
My view is that, as we have no idea how personal this is with regards to Ben himself, the only one who should comment on it is Ben himself.
KEN on this we DO agree! My life principles are that all non evil people are fully entitled to privacy in personal matters.
Evil people who choose to live outside societys rules, forfeit that right , IMO!
Of course not.
Any manager is obliged to talk to the press, and as such to talk to the public.
But no manager is obliged to reveal or explain more than he/she wants to, and indeed no manager does. Whether it be tactical, personal or whatever.
That is the product we pay for every week. Take it or leave it.
Marge, I firmly agree with your view on the changing times in football from the olden days where one could walk into the ground, pay a few shillings and see any game. Now that it is corporate -and IMO it is essentially a largely corrupt business – I do NOT agree that any manager has a duty to explain to fans his weekly selections.
On other matters,injuries etc I DO think he should speak directly to we fans via the media, tv etc, which managers routinely do.
But in no serious business I have ever come across does the man in charge explain to shareholders( we fans equivalent) all his daily decisions. Nor should he (or her).
There are areas of managerial decisions we have no right to know, though we DO have the right to campaign for the removal of any subpar manager, as fans often do.
Indeed, many fans short sightedly campaign for the removal even of top class managers, as many on JA did, until this season with Arteta.
But that is not really my point. I say we have rights but not as many rights as you outline. At least NOT IMO!
I don’t really care why he wasn’t picked (but have an inkling why) but glad he wasn’t as it helps us, especially now we have defensive injuries.
Have been watching the premier league for 18yrs+ now
How on earth is James wardprose
Not in this england euro qualifying squad jsh
TBH this guy is way better and consistent for like 3 seasons now with no injury, a Xhaka kind of player.
I.e Conor Gallagher And kalvin Phillips
Ahead of James wardprose
What is Southgate smoking?
@williamrick: were Ward Prowse a Man. Utd. player, he would walk right into that squad and most certainly would be a starter. Club counts in this political game of ours – as @marge pointed out.
Theo Walcott made it to Euro 2006 but Darren Bent didn’t because he was playing for a USELESS Charlton Athletic.
From players on pitch, to match officials, to awards . . .
Football is largely corrupt.