Arteta dismisses claims Ben White was left out of England squad due to injury


Mikel Arteta insists Ben White is fit and the defender was left out by England for selection reasons alone.

The 24-year-old was not among Gareth Southgate’s final England squad before the World Cup and there had been suggestions that the £50million signing will miss the upcoming games against Germany and Italy because of injury.

But Arteta dismissed those fears on Friday, saying ahead of their trip to Brentford: ‘He is fit.’

The manager then confirmed it was a selection decision.

‘Gareth picks the best squad that he believes is for now. The squad he picked for November is incredible. Anything we can do to help Ben, we are trying to do,’ he added.

‘I think Ben is giving a lot of reasons to be selected. That’s all we can do.’

White was named in the last England squad in May, only to pull out with a hamstring injury.

Arteta has been using the defender at right back this season, rather than in the middle, but the manager rejected the idea that that explains his omission.

‘He has played in both positions and he has been selected sometimes and not. I think to have a versatile player to play at that level in both positions of central defender and full back is something that in my opinion any manager wants,’ he said.

‘Especially when you go to a tournament where a lot of things can happen. That’s Gareth’s decision and his coaching staff. Whenever he gets the call, he will be ready.’

Three of Arsenal’s Brazilian contingent – Gabriel Jesus, Gabriel Magalhaes, and Gabriel Martinelli – have all been left out of their national team, too.

And Arteta challenged his players to use omissions as motivation.

‘I haven’t (been given a reason),’ he added.

‘I will have to convince the players to continue to put their heads down and accept the decision of their coaches to not join their national teams and give them even more reason that it is so evident that they have to be selected.’

Arteta also claimed Oleksandr Zinchenko could yet feature against Brentford, despite Ukraine ruling him out of the international break because of an injury.

Ukraine claimed Zinchenko had ‘suffered a calf muscle injury during training at the club, which will require about two weeks for treatment and recovery.’

But Arteta said on Friday: ‘We have to wait until tomorrow to make that decision.’

‘Where he was at that moment and what we have decided to do for international week doesn’t mean that we will decide the same for the weekend.


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