Harry Maguire is unsure of the ‘ins and outs’ behind Ben White’s decision to snub England but says the ‘excellent’ Arsenal defender ‘trained really well’ before leaving the Qatar World Cup.

White was notably absent from England’s 25-man squad to take on Brazil and Belgium this month, with Gareth Southgate revealing that the 26-year-old had asked not to be considered for selection through Arsenal’s sporting director Edu.

The versatile Arsenal star has not featured at international level since leaving the Three Lions’ training camp early at the 2022 World Cup, when reports of a bust-up with Southgate’s assistant Steve Holland hit the headlines.

White has faced strong criticism from some corners, with former Tottenham and QPR manager Harry Redknapp branding his decision ‘disgusting’ and urging Southgate to ‘slam the door’ on a possible return in the future.

It appears unlikely that White will return to the fold for this summer’s European Championships and England defender Maguire – one of Southgate’s most trusted squad members – is uncertain of the reasons behind his fellow countryman’s thinking.

‘Ben’s an excellent footballer,’ the Manchester United centre-back told The Times when asked about White’s decision ahead of England’s friendly with Brazil.

‘He trained really well [at the World Cup before heading home early] but I honestly don’t know the ins and outs of why he’s not wanting to be in the squad at the moment.

‘All I do know is that playing for your country is the greatest honour a footballer can get.

‘When I was a young boy I dreamt of playing for my country.

‘Every opportunity I get I will take. Playing for my country means absolutely everything to me.’

Former Arsenal midfielder Ray Parlour, meanwhile, has called for England fans to ‘respect’ White’s decision.

‘What he’s done at Arsenal has been brilliant. Great, great signing,’ Parlour told talkSPORT.

‘I think the World Cup really shocked him a little bit because there was an opportunity where he probably could have been substituted and come on and I think Gareth went with Eric Dier, who wasn’t playing on a regular basis at Spurs at the time.

‘That really affected him because he was playing brilliant. He couldn’t have been playing better at that period.

‘I’m sure Ben will admit himself that he’s not the biggest lover of football. Not everybody does. But what he’s done at Arsenal is brilliant.

Parlour added: ‘I went in loads of squads where I didn’t get a cap and was just there in case I got my opportunity.

‘He has three or four right-backs in front of him, hasn’t he? [Kieran] Tripper, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Reece James if he’s fit… so it’s difficult. I know he can play in a three at the back as well at centre-half.

‘But that’s his decision. Not everybody likes people’s decisions and you’ve got to respect him for that.’