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Ben White: Declan Rice hopes his Arsenal team-mate will change England's decision

Ben White: Declan Rice hopes his Arsenal team-mate will change England's decision

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Comment on the photo, Ben White (left) has made four appearances for England but has not appeared on the pitch for the Three Lions since March 2022.

England midfielder Declan Rice is hoping his Arsenal team-mate Ben White will change his mind and make himself available to the Three Lions.

Defender White has opted out of this month's friendlies and the 26-year-old has not featured in the England squad since the 2022 World Cup.

Rice, who will celebrate his 50th cap for the national team by captaining England against Belgium on Tuesday, said of White: “Hopefully, with the quality that he has and that he can bring to this team, we can bring him back.”

England coach Gareth Southgate said Arsenal sporting director Edu had told him White did not want to be considered, but added he was still not sure why.

White left the England squad for the World Cup in Qatar for personal reasons, with him reportedly unhappy and having a falling out with assistant coach Steve Holland.

Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live, Rice said: “Ben is a good man and an unbelievable footballer.

He added: “It is difficult to know what is really happening, but he has made his decision and does not want to play for England at this moment.”

Rice added: “Playing for England is the greatest honor you can ever have.”

video caption, England vs Belgium: Declan Rice 'honoured' by captaining England after winning the 50th match

White has impressed Premier League leaders Arsenal this season and has shown his versatility with Mikel Arteta's favorites.

The matches against Brazil and Belgium represent England's last friendlies before Southgate selects his 23-man squad for Euro 2024, leaving White's participation in the tournament in doubt.

“Ben has the quality to play anywhere and when you have a player like that, it's really key,” Rice said.

White could be a key member of the England national team on this basis, but his focus at the moment is away from international football.

“I hope he changes his mind,” Rice said. “But if he's happy to do it, that's Ben's decision.”

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