Arsenal defender Ben White becomes first star to leave England World Cup squad

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The Arsenal star has left Qatar to return home from the Three Lions training base after their 3-0 win against Wales and won't possibly return before the end of the tournament.

With all of the international teams advancing to the knockout stage at Qatar World Cup already determined after Switzerland's 1-0 win over Serbia, the tournament is becoming more and more competitive. For teams that have qualified, it's not only an honour but an opportunity to even advance further and reach their hands on the much-coveted trophy.

England secures their top position in Group B effortlessly, with the USA following them to the knockout stage. Along the country's journey, so far, some players have played key roles while others are still awaiting their chances on the bench. The common thing between them all is that they will go to great lengths to end the Three Lion's international trophy drought that has lasted 56 years.

Arsenal defender Ben White becomes first star to leave England World Cup squad Alex Livesey-Danehouse

Unfortunately, that collective will has recently been diminished after England says goodbye to one of their World Cup players, Ben White.

Ben White left World Cup halfway through

The 25-year-old started his career at Southampton before moving on to Brighton and Hove Albion, where he joined the first team. He had a couple of loan spells away from the south coast club, including one with Leeds United in the 2019-20 season, before signing a lucrative contract with Arsenal in the summer of 2021.

Arsenal defender Ben White becomes first star to leave England World Cup squad DeFodi Images

Ben earned his senior England debut in the summer of 2021, and although being included in the Three Lions team for Euro 2020, he did not make his appearance in the tournament. History was written again recently when Ben White has flown home and left England’s World Cup training base.

Why did White leave the tournament?

According to Goal, after being granted permission to leave for 'personal reasons', the Arsenal defender is not scheduled to travel to Qatar to rejoin the group. White was absent from training this week due to illness, according to the Football Association.

Arsenal defender Ben White becomes first star to leave England World Cup squad Eddie Keough

England had chosen a 26-man squad, and White still hadn't performed. However, Kyle Walker's return to fitness has alleviated fears about having adequate defensive cover.

According to the Express, an FA statement claimed:

‘Ben While has left England’s training base in Al Wakrah and returned home for personal reasons. The Arsenal defender is not expected to return to the squad for the remainder of the tournament. We ask that the player’s privacy is respected at this moment in time.’

The arsenal fan page has reposted the FA’s statement, captioned ‘We’re all with you, Ben’.

Who will replace Ben White?

White was competing in his second important tournament with Three Lions, having been a member of the side that reached the European Championship final last summer. The £50 million defender did not play in the tournament and has only received two caps since, bringing his total to four, reports 90min.

Despite his absence, Southgate has decided not to call up a substitute. Conor Coady and Eric Dier provide defensive cover for the Three Lions' first-choice pairing of Harry Maguire and John Stones. This season, White has also played right-back for Arsenal, but Kyle Walker, Kieran Trippier, and Trent Alexander-Arnold can all fill that role for England. Eddie Keough

Phil Foden, who started and scored in Wales' 3-0 triumph, said on Tuesday night:

‘There’s no easy game, you can see that by the group how tough the USA was and Iran as well going on to beat Wales, it just goes to show there are no easy games.

The Manchester City wonder kid continued:

‘We don’t really know them too much, we just have to sit down and review them and be ready for the game.’

Before the World Cup break, the defender had started all 14 Premier League games, leading his team to the top of the table.

Read more:

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Jack Grealish: How much is the England international worth?

England at World Cup 2022: Five players dropped from Gareth Southgate's squad

England World Cup 2022 squad: Who's flying to Qatar?

© Richard Sellers

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