Gareth Southgate has addressed reports that Ben White had a ‘bust-up’ with England’s assistant manager Steve Holland at their World Cup base in Qatar.
The Gunners defender hadn’t featured for Gareth Southgate’s side before his departure, nor was he available for the Wales clash due to illness. He then left the squad with the FA citing personal reasons as the cause.
A statement initially read: “Ben White has left England’s training base in Al Wakrah and returned home for personal reasons. The Arsenal defender is not expected to return to the squad for the remainder of the tournament. We ask that the player’s privacy is respected at this moment in time.”
However, the Daily Star reported on Friday that White’s premature exit stems from a fall-out with a key member of the coaching staff. It also stated that he struggled to fully integrate into the squad off the pitch, leaving him unhappy out in Qatar as a result.
The moment that sealed his fate came after he allegedly had verbal blows with Holland in full view of the rest of the team.
Those reports were contested by some journalists, including The Express’ Ryan Taylor, who tweeted: “No change on Ben White. Left England’s World Cup camp in Qatar due to personal reasons. No confirmation as of yet when he will return to training with Arsenal.”
Now, Southgate has addressed the matter himself, telling reporters: “I think by commenting on the story I could be giving it any form of credibility, really. We explained why Ben left the camp and I think it’s important that that is respected, really.”
The Arsenal star is not set to be part of the England camp for the rest of the tournament, while he hasn’t been named in the club’s squad for the trip to Dubai in their warmup matches before domestic action is back underway.