Why is Ben White being persecuted for his honesty – but nothing is said about Kane or Saka?

KDB wasn’t called up by Belgium so he could regain fitness at Man City. For similar reasons Thomas Partey asked Ghana if he could stay in North London. Gabriel then told Brazil he won’t be at Wembley although we don’t know the official diagnosis.

Harry Kane has been Bayern Munich’s most consistent player since moving to Germany, but Southgate has pretty much confirmed he won’t play either match scheduled this week. Carlton Palmer, easily Chelsea’s player of the season isn’t fit enough to feature on Saturday.

Many will argue I can’t prove how serious any of the above injuries are and understandably talent will not be risked for uncompetitive fixtures if carrying even the slightest of niggles.

All a coincidence though, isn’t it?

A coincidence that so many club’s prize assets are all crocked at the same time.
A coincidence that the majority of those names were all able to feature in their club’s most recent outing.
A coincidence that most will have recovered in time for next weekend.

How many Gooners are truly worried if Gabriel will miss the trip to the Etihad?

Gary Neville confirmed the conspiracy theory is real on his excellent Stick to Football Podcast. He admitted that Sir Alex Ferguson detested the March international break so much that he would simply refuse to release any Man United players, unless they were involved in a qualifier or competitive tournament. At other parts of the year Sir Alex would make ‘deals’ with managers regarding when, where, and how long players would play for their nations.

The pundits on the Overlap predicted that it will already be arranged between Prem clubs and the FA who is playing how long in the next 5 days.

On the episode uploaded on Thursday, Neville predicted that between then and Wednesday, at least one of Saka, Rice or Foden would join the list of Arsenal and Man City names withdrawing from their international commitments.

Guess what? Later that day Saka was sent home from Saint George’s Park for ‘further rehabilitation’.

Another coincidence?

The Sky Sports man was spot on! How did Mr Neville pick his name out of the entire squad? What’s the odds the 22 years will be okay by a week on Sunday?

Selfishly it benefits my team to have as many Gunners as possible taking the week off.

Certainly, us getting a result against the Champions is more important to me then how England fare against Brazil and Belgium. If that means exaggerating injuries or being dishonest, then the juice is worth the squeeze.

Yet the Sport pages this week have been dominated by Ben White refusing to be called up by the Three Lions.

Southgate again demonstrated his relationship with the media on Friday, with journalists not challenging him any further on the issue, despite several sources stressing that Steve Holland was in fact part of a bust up with the defender, something Southgate denied earlier in the week.

Sky Sports, TalkSport, YouTubers, ex-players, etc, all have had an opinion on a 26-year-old rejecting the chance to play at the Euros.

Yet is there much difference to what White has done compared to Kane and Saka?

To clarify, we have an ex-player and assistant coach confirming that players lying in March to sit out international football is common.

Isn’t any player doing that as guilty as what White has been accused of? Are they too not refusing a cap? Have they just not done it in more of an underhanded way?

Is showing up for training then saying your going home much different to what White has done? In fact, has White not been more honest than his peers?

He’s been clear on his stance since the World Cup instead of Saka, Kane and Palmer taking a spot in the group that could have gone to someone who intends to play?

By informing Edu in advance, White has caused minimal disruption compared to those who have left the camp daily this week.

Kane and Saka though have better PR then White, so their loyalty won’t be questioned.

The only difference is that they originally went to England’s headquarters, White did not. Yet their intentions were the same, not to play for England.

It’s made White more popular at the Emirates with the defender admired for sticking by his convictions, having principles, demanding respect and not being pressured to conform.

I would love Southgate to be asked; what’s the difference between a player asking not to selected, compared to someone who accepts the invitation but makes themselves not available for selection?

He won’t be though ….



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  1. C’m on Dan, stop banging this drum. Saka & Kane are both injured, if only slightly, so took sickies, but do want a career with England, none of which applies to White.

      1. Yeah Dan, “meaningless friendlies”. They’ll be fit enough this summer when Euro 2024 starts.
        I’m probably being unkind to both, accusing them of sickies. The England medical team must have checked them over before releasing them.

      2. Well of course there’s a lot of “injured players” at the moment, because these pointless international friendlies have come at such a crucial stage for the club’s.

  2. If you have even a slight injury, the England manager is obliged to rest that player when it is just afreindly match. Unless he is really ignorant and stupid.

    Regarding White, he knows he will never get a game while Holland is advising Southgate. There was an interesting blogg by former Arsenal and England player Ray Parlour speaking about Whites withdrawal decision::

    “I think the World Cup really shocked him (White) a little bit because there was an opportunity where he probably could have been substituted and come on and I think Gareth went with Eric Dier, who wasn’t playing on a regular basis at Spurs at the time.

    If he got a missed opportunity to play as a substitute over a lame duck, then you can’t blame him for thinking, I am wasting my time just sitting on the bench for no positive reason, when I am at my peak playing my best football ever.
    It was probably Holland that whispered in Southgates ear to play ( at that time) the unfit lame Eric Dyer, which made no logical sense other than being a personal decision influenced by the White hating Holland. Just an opinion!

  3. Saka and Kane are injured and the perceived persecution of White blew over more or less as soon as it came up, old news, why mention it now?

    1. Not syre if it was “perceived persecution” GB, more like outright persecution from the likes of arry rednut through to jamie “anyone but Arsenal” ohara!!
      It seems Sir Alex was as guilty as we all thought he was!!
      All I’m pleased about is the fact that our players are being treated in the same way as others and I’m fully behind Ben White.

  4. As has already been pointed out the difference is that they accepted their call ups and then withdrew from the squad, and England’s medical team have had the opportunity to assess them. As for White telling Edu that he didn’t want to be called up, this is against procedure. National associations have the right to call up any resisted player, and if that player does not wish to be considered they must inform the national association in writing 5 days before the squad announcement. The national team can take this into consideration, but can still call that player up if they so wish, and the players who do not accept the call up can be sanctioned by FIFA.

    1. I read the article and thought my comment gave all I wanted to say, but basically if players are injured they don’t pull out, England send them home to their clubs. We don’t know what are the reasons for White not wanting to play and apart from the early noise from the usual suspects, about it, I was surprised at the ferocity of Rednap’s view on it.

  5. You have a bit of a bee in your bonnet about the White/Southgate saga, Dan

    You do make good points about the legitimacy of some of the players’ injuries but Kane and Saka don’t need to impress Southgate and will be at the Euros. I agree with daveg that White’s opportunities would be minimal with Holland in situ and there seems to be a bit of economy with the truth being put out by Southgate. Of course, we’d only know this when Southgate leaves and the new manager calls up White and he plays

  6. This has been going on for decades and no wonder, its the business end of the season and no manager wants important players injured in meaningless friendlies. That said I did witness Kane’s boot catch and twist in the goal net. It probably saved him from a more serious injury, he had the goalpost between his legs!!! Can’t wait for the Prem to start again. As for Ben White, give the guy a break it’s his choice.

  7. Frankly I could not care less, except to say that whenever ANY of our players ands for whatever reason , does NOT play for their country, I am pleased.

    I care only about Arsenal and anything which stops extra player fatigue and brings a chance of injury(while playing international matches) is a GOOD THING, im my view!!

    Ideally, NONE of Arsenals players would ever play fror their country ever again!

  8. Now Jeff Stelling’s getting in on the “bash Ben” brigade, by criticizing his wife for posting photos of them on holiday, while England was losing to Brazil.
    Seriously, Jeff Stelling.

  9. Ben knows his worth and shouldn’t be treated as an outcast…saliba should do the same because it’s obvious their coach don’t trust him much…

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