Ben White has enjoyed a spectacular vein of form under Mikel Arteta at Arsenal, playing a key role in the Gunners’ five clean sheets this season.
Arriving at the Emirates from Brighton with a sizeable price tag, the 24-year-old centre-half has silenced his critics following a bombardment of criticism for the north London side’s rocky start.
Aaron Ramsdale has been a key factor in Arsenal’s recent success and has earned himself an England call-up, yet Arteta’s £50 million man, who has combined well with the shot-stopper lately, was omitted from the November Three Lions call-up.
Puzzled and confused, Gooners took to social media to vent their astonishment that the likes of Conor Coady and Tyrone Mings blocked White from entering the gates of St George’s Park.
Tom Canton was joined by the Mirror’s chief football writer John Cross and football.london Arsenal correspondent Kaya Kaynak for the latest Pressbox episode on The Arsenal Way to discuss White’s unexpected mini November break.
Cross kickstarted the debate by arguing that Tyrone Mings’ place in Southgate’s Three Lions November call-up is warranted by the Aston Villa captain’s impressive displays at Euro 2020.
“It’s a really fine line because I think that this squad, it’s probably right to stick with Mings,” he began. “I think he was rather fortunate to keep that place in the squad but having said that he was sensational for England in the Euros.
“The fact of the matter is that Harry Maguire wasn’t fit for the start of the tournament and Mings played a blinder. I think if you’re Tyrone Mings you deserve a degree of loyalty.”
However, Cross then added that Mings’ loyalty points will run out come the next international break and the 28-year-old will then be at risk of having his place stolen Ben White, subject to either players’ form.
“That loyalty will stretch so far and for me it stretches into the third camp,” he said. “By March, if England qualify [for the World Cup], they’ll have a couple of back-to-back friendlies at Wembley – Ben White deserves to be back on this form, absolutely no question.
“Ben White is playing brilliantly at the moment and the way he brings the ball out is sensational at the moment; you’re seeing all facets to his game.
“There’s no doubt about it for me, White will be an absolute mainstay in this England defence for the next five or six years but I think a degree of loyalty is also called for.”
Cross then concluded by detailing his concern with Southgate’s obsession with loyalty at St George’s Park.
“One thing I don’t want to see is those protected players where it’s about cliques, it’s about players who frankly don’t deserve their place and should be dropped,” he said.
“No one wants to see that, but I do think you have to balance that with a degree of loyalty.”
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