Declan Rice hopes to convince Arsenal team-mate Ben White to make England U-turn

by 24britishtvMarch 26, 2024, noon 20
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Declan Rice is hoping to convince Arsenal team-mate Ben White to make an international U-turn and become available to play for England.

White has starred for the Premier League leaders this season but has not featured in the national team squad since the 2022 World Cup.

The 26-year-old returned early from Qatar for what the Football Association called "personal reasons" and reports later emerged of an alleged bust-up with England assistant Steve Holland.
• White asked to be left out of England squad | Mischaracterised White is a loss to England
• Euro 2024 fixtures, schedule, groups, venues: All you need to know
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England manager Gareth Southgate denied any such fall-out when he announced his squad for the friendlies against Brazil and Belgium this month and revealed that White did not want to be selected by England at the moment.

White's Arsenal team-mate Rice will captain England at Wembley on Tuesday against Belgium in the final friendly before the manager picks his 23-man squad for Euro 2024 - and then will set about convincing White with the help of his fellow Arsenal team-mates to change his mind.

Rice said: "When I get back I can have a conversation with him [White] and see the ins and outs and see what he thinks.

"I would love him to come. I think Bukayo (Saka) would. I think Aaron Ramsdale would. I think we're all going to be on him when we get back to say… hopefully, he can change his mind but I don't know the ins and outs of that conversation."

Rice, who will earn his 50th England cap on Tuesday night, added: "The only thing I can say is, it's Ben's life. It's Ben's decision.

"We can't argue with him with what he wants to do. Of course, there's always going to be people writing stuff, having their opinions on what they think.

"But at the end of the day, the only thing that matters is what he thinks and at this moment in time, he obviously doesn't want to play for England.

"I really hope he does (change his mind), because I see him every day, he is such a good character. For people that don't know, such a good character, very composed, very level-headed.

"When he's on a football pitch, he will do anything to win but also I think for England as well, he can play as a centre-back and at right-back, as in inverted full-back. Now he's a really key tool that we could have.

"So I hope he changes his mind. Obviously, at this moment in time, he doesn't feel like he wants that. So that I think is his decision.

"I know him and Gareth spoke internally about it. So I don't know too much of the ins and outs, but I just hope he changes his mind.

"If you know him as a person and as a player like I do, he's such a good guy. He's such a good guy and he's an unbelievable footballer.

"Playing for England is the greatest honour you could ever have. So hopefully, with the quality that he has and the quality he can bring to this side, we can get him back in."

When will Southgate name his Euros squad?

This is the final England game before Southgate names his squad longlist for the Euros on Tuesday May 21 - two days after the Premier League season ends. England then play two more international friendlies against Bosnia and Herzegovina at St James' Park on June 3 and Iceland at Wembley on June 7 before Southgate's final 23-player squad has to be confirmed by Sunday June 8.

The tournament starts on Friday June 14 with England's first game in Germany against Serbia on Saturday June 15.

Southgate also confirmed Jude Bellingham would be fit to play, with the star midfielder struggling with cramp against Brazil.

England host Belgium in a friendly at Wembley on Tuesday in a 7.45pm kick-off.

Gareth Southgate is set to name a preliminary England squad for Euro 2024 on Tuesday May 21 - two days after the Premier League season ends.

England then play two more international friendlies against Bosnia and Herzegovina at St James' Park on June 3 and Iceland at Wembley on June 7 before Southgate's final 23-player squad has to be confirmed by Sunday June 8.

The tournament starts on Friday June 14 with England's first game in Germany against Serbia on Saturday June 15.

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