Gareth Southgate refuses to give ‘credibility’ to Ben White story as England boss responds to reports of Arsenal defender’s World Cup squad exit and calls for ‘respect “


Gareth Southgate has told talkSPORT he doesn’t want to lend ‘credibility’ to rumors surrounding Ben White’s exit from England’s World Cup squad.

The Three Lions boss was asked about reports released on Friday about the Arsenal defender’s surprise return ahead of their Round of 16 win over Senegal.


White returned early from the World Cup with no minutes under his belt

England confirmed on November 30 that White had returned to London for “personal reasons”, after missing the decisive game against Wales through illness.

A statement said the Three Lions did not expect the defender – who had been on the bench for England’s first two games against Iran and the United States – to return and asked that “the player’s privacy is respected at this time”.

Arsenal then tweeted the message “We are all with you Ben”, in response to the FA’s statement.

It is also claimed that he was to stay at home and will not join the Gunners for their mid-season training camp in Dubai.

However, reports this week claimed the reason for White’s flight back to the UK was due to a rift with Southgate assistant manager Steve Holland.

The Daily Star alleged that White had a verbal disagreement with Holland in front of the entire England squad.

England say White left their World Cup squad for


England say White left their World Cup squad for ‘personal reasons’

It was also claimed that the 25-year-old ‘struggled to mix’ with his Three Lions team-mates in Qatar, which led to the decision to dismiss him early from the camp.

Southgate was asked about the reports ahead of Saturday’s quarter-final clash with France.

Asked if he could elaborate on the claims, he told English talkSPORT reporter Faye Carruthers: “Well, not really.

“What I was shown was alleged and there was another word that was used.

Reports claimed White and Southgate Holland's No 2 got into an argument at the training ground

Richard Pelham / The Sun

Reports claimed White and Southgate Holland’s No 2 got into an argument at the training ground

“I think by commenting on the story, I could give it any kind of credence, really.

“We explained why Ben left the camp and I think it’s important that that is respected, really.”

Arsenal kicked off their winter training camp with a 3-0 win over Lyon then face AC Milan before returning home for Christmas and the resumption of the Premier League as action resumes on Boxing Day.

Meanwhile, England are preparing for tonight’s crunch quarter-final against European rivals France – which we will bring to you LIVE on talkSPORT!

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