Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has spoken out about the press coverage of his center back, Ben White, leaving the England camp at the 2022 World Cup early. On November 30, the English Football Association announced that White was leaving Three Lions camp due to unspecified “personal reasons.”
On Friday, ahead of England’s quarterfinal loss to France, Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate was asked about the media narratives surrounding White, which claimed the defender left the national team due to a spat with an assistant coach.
These stories also claimed that White had some attitude issues in the England camp, and problems getting along with the rest of the group.
Southgate didn’t confirm or deny the reports, and he called for everyone to respect White’s privacy. Arteta didn’t reveal the details on White’s early exit either, but he did give an affirmation of his player’s character.
White returned to his club in Dubai, and started for the Gunners in their 2-1 win over AC Milan in the Dubai Super Cup earlier today. Asked about media concerns over White’s attitude, Arteta responded:
“We can’t control that [the rumour]. I know who Ben is, what he needs, what his character is and how happy we all are to have him at the club. Everybody has been giving him a lot of support and love.”
Paul M. Banks is the owner/manager of The Sports Bank. He’s also the author of “Transatlantic Passage: How the English Premier League Redefined Soccer in America,” and “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry.”