England boss Gareth Southgate has revealed why Arsenal defender Ben White has been left out of the Three Lions squad for this month’s international matches.

The defender has been impressive for Mikel Arteta’s side this season as the first-choice right-back at the Emirates Stadium. White hasn’t featured for his country since the 2022 World Cup.

The 26-year-old returned early from Qatar for ‘personal reasons’ though no precise explanation has been made public. Since then, the Arsenal defender has improved this season and has been one of the most consistent performers throughout the league.

On Thursday, Southgate named his squad for this month’s international friendlies with Belgium and Brazil with a few new inclusions. However, White was not included once again and the England boss explained why in his press conference.

“Clearly on form I can’t sit here and say he doesn’t deserve to be in,” Southgate explained. “We, John McDermott and I, had a call from Edu (Arsenal sporting director) last week and he said Ben didn’t want to be considered for England squads at this time.

“For me that is a great shame. He is a player we took to the Euros, a player we took to the World Cup and I spoke to him post-Qatar because I wanted to pick him.

“He is not available to us and there is no issue between us at all and I also should say there is never any issue with (coach) Steve Holland because that has been mentioned in articles and I don’t like that.

“I want that door wide open. He would be in this squad but he’s not available to us and I have to focus on who can help us.”