Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Arteta plays up White’s versatility following England snub

Mikel Arteta says Ben White’s versatility should be seen as an advantage when it comes to selecting an England squad for the World Cup in Qatar.

Despite playing regularly for the Gunners this season, the 24-year-old has been overlooked by Gareth Southgate for the upcoming Interlull and must be aware that time is running out to turn the head of the Three Lions boss.

Is it counting against the defender that he’s being asked to play at right-back by Arteta rather than in his preferred role in the centre of defence? Arteta certainly doesn’t think so.

“He’s played in both positions, sometimes he’s been selected, sometimes not,” said the boss ahead of Sunday’s trip to Brentford.

“I think to have versatile players that can play at the level that Ben can in both positions – central defender and full-back – is, in my opinion, something that any manager wants especially when you go for a tournament where anything can happen.

“That’s Gareth’s decision and his coaching staff’s, what I can tell you is that when Ben gets the call, he will be ready.”

That Harry Maguire has been given the nod ahead of White is particularly galling given the player’s poor form and lack of minutes for Manchester United. It certainly seems to run contrary to Southgate’s usual policy of only selecting players who are playing regularly for their clubs.

“I don’t know, you guys [in the media] take every time, word by word, every time we say something. Look, Gareth picks the best team, the best squad he believes for now. It doesn’t mean that it’s going to be the case in November, the squad that they have available is just incredible. Everything that we can do to help Ben, we are trying to do so. I think Ben is giving a lot of reasons to be selected.”

The boss is obviously very pleased with White’s willingness and ability to play multiple roles and he firmly believes the £50 million signing enjoys varying things up.

“When we are thinking about doing something to maximise the resources we have in the squad, to have some connection and other options to play the way we want to play, we have to have certainty that the player is happy to do so and that he feels capable to do that. If not, it is just a waste of time. So it has to go both ways, I have those discussions with Ben, he’s always been very open.

“I think he’s really enjoying playing in that position and that’s why he’s been doing so well. I think it’s great for him, at his age, to be involved in other positions.”

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Top top player in his skills, strength and attitude. Eventually England will realise.

Look forward to him being with us for many years.

Cranky Colin

A big thanks to the Lord, that Southgate is such a gormless tool.


I have a feeling he will make it into the final squad for the WC.


I don’t, sadly. I think Southgate will continue to pick his favourites no matter how woeful their performances. Maguire the worst, but plenty of others in that squad have done nothing to justify their places.

Santi's Thigh Grab

Southgate doesn’t play to the teams strengths, his approach is typical tournament approach, conservative. The attacking talent in this team is unbelievable but they are not set up to maximize that advantage. England not winning anything with Southgate at the helm.

The Farmer

Harry fucking Maguire…give me a break!


The same Harry Maguire who was dropped to the bench and his team consequently going on a winning run. Favoritism at its finest from Gareth.

Brady’s bunch

Seems to be Gareth’s way. Grealish will be there also and he’s been poor for a year now. I like the fact white goes under the radar I think he’s been fantastic for us this season and people don’t seem to see how good he is.


Feels like a bias towards arsenal at this point. You know if he was playing for a united all the pundits would be singing his praise. If Ramsdale does get picked as England’s no.1 then it makes even less sense, as those 2 have the chemistry you need at the back.

A Different George

For what it’s worth (and at the risk of repeating myself), I think the reliance on players like Dier is a much greater problem for England than Maguire. (And again, I’m trying to ignore the fact that I obviously dislike who he plays for.) He is like Terry, though not as good–very good in the air, strong and willing. And like Terry, his lack of pace and technical ability mean that you cannot play a high line, that you cannot play a possession-based game playing out from the back, you cannot really take advantage of the skills of players like… Read more »


Much & all as I can’t stand Dier I’m not sure how you can talk about a ‘reliance’ on him given he hasn’t won a cap for England in almost 2 years

Merlin’s Panini

Isn’t the closest similarity between Dire and Terry being a cunt?


England just hate to win, its why they keep picking maguire

Emi Rates

Listening to Tim Stillman on this today and I think he’s right that Southgate’s time is coming to an end and the next manager will drop that useless lump Maguire and give Ben White the opportunity he deserves.


At best, Gareth Southgate is an average manager, living the dream as the England manager, and is incapable of delivering anything of note. I won’t talk up White’s talent, his qualities with the ball, his capabilities one on one. White is the best England has of all the defenders at his disposal today. Mings is struggling at Villa or Gerard is struggling to get over his ego whatever the case is he’s not getting a lot of minutes and is prone to some weird decisions, not on Maguire levels but close. He’s an old-school manager who has no actual capability… Read more »

Maguire over White.
Let. That. Sink. In


Arteta: “White can play several positions.”.
Southgate: “How the hell am I supposed to know where to play him then? Where does he play today? What about tomorrow? It’s all too complicated! ” (collapses into a chair and drools for several hours)

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