Ben White has a future for England and could play centre-back for his country one day, Gareth Southgate has said.
The Arsenal defender flew home from the World Cup in Qatar after struggling mentally during the camp, and England continued the tournament without him.
White was not selected for Southgate’s latest England squad ahead of Euro 2024 qualifiers with Italy and Ukraine on Thursday, despite his impressive season playing mostly at right-back for league leaders Arsenal.
But the England manager said the decision to omit White was down to the strength in depth at his disposal in that position, with Kieran Trippier, Kyle Walker and Reece James all selected.
“Yeah, absolutely,” Southgate said when asked if White had an England future. “We like him. We’re interested to see whether at some point he ends up back at centre-back as well, because he’s got some really good attributes within that.
“We think Walker and Trippier have been consistent for us and playing well with their clubs. Trippier has been one of the outstanding players in the league and has played a big part in Newcastle’s season. And Reece James is also a high-level player. So it’s a position we’re blessed with and Ben [White] also has a very good claim, and Aaron Wan-Bissaka is back close to the team at Manchester United so we have got a lot of depth in that particular position.
“So, at the moment, as I said, other guys are playing well at big clubs that are still in the Champions League as well or high in the league, so it is a hard call.”
England travel to Naples to take on Italy in their first Euros qualifying match next week, before Ukraine visit Wembley.