Ben White: Mikel Arteta addresses England defender World Cup exit

Ben White: Mikel Arteta addresses England defender World Cup exit

Edwin Kiplagat
  • Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has expressed his delight in having Ben White back in training
  • White left the England camp in the 2022 World Cup amid numerous pieces of speculation
  • The 24-year-old started for the Gunners in a friendly game against AC Milan in Dubai

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has finally addressed Ben White's 2022 World Cup matter, days after the England defender returned to training at the club.

The 24-year-old started his first game since leaving Qatar due to personal reasons. He left the tournament on November 30 and the team announced he wasn't expected to return.

Ben White, Mikel Arteta, Arsenal, England, Premier League, 2022 World Cup, Gareth Southgate
Ben White didn't play a single game at the 2022 World Cup. Photos by John Walton/PA Images and Eddie Keogh - The FA.
Source: Getty Images

There was widespread speculation about the reasons for his absence.

However, Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate swiftly rubbished the rumours that the defender had a bust-up with a member of the England staff.

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The centre-back returned to training for the Gunners and took part in a friendly against AC Milan. White then posted a telling Instagram post, leaving many fans wondering what happened.

Arteta on White

Speaking after beating Milan 2-1, Arteta defended White and said he was happy to see him, per Football.London.

"Very pleased. Everybody has been giving him a lot of support and love. We know the reasons he had to leave the camp. We are delighted to have him back and he looked in really good shape."

The Spaniard added that the club can't control the speculation about what happened behind closed doors in the Middle East.

"We can’t control that. I know who Ben is, what he needs, what his character is, and how happy we all are to have him at the club."

White has been an important player for the Gunners this season, helping them to their best-ever start to a Premier League season, per 90min.

With William Saliba expected to miss a few days due to France's commitments in Qatar, White may need to step up in defence against West Ham.

Why White left England camp

Sports Brief earlier reported that White was sent home due to a bust-up with England assistant manager Steve Holland.

He was an unused substitute in the first two group stage matches against Iran and the United States of America.

Multiple reports indicate that he had an alleged confrontation with Southgate's assistant and was forced to leave the camp in Qatar.