Paul Merson admits he was shocked Ben White was left out by England
Paul Merson has told Sportskeeda that he was shocked to see Ben White left out of the England squad for the international break, insisting that the Arsenal star is capable of playing in three different positions.
White deserves a lot of credit for his form at the start of this campaign. With William Saliba back in the fold, Mikel Arteta moved White out to right-back to fill in Takehiro Tomiyasu.
Tomiyasu has struggled with injury in North London. But there is no question that he has been an outstanding signing when he has been available.
Merson shocked to see Ben White left out of England squad
So it says a lot that White has kept him out of the Arsenal team more recently. However, his performances did not prove to be enough to earn him a place in the England squad.
And Merson expressed his disbelief at White missing out.
“I was quite shocked that Ben White didn’t make it to the England squad. He can play in three different positions, and that could help Gareth Southgate,” he told Sportskeeda.
“When White plays at right-back for Arsenal, it allows Tierney to bomb forward and they effectively play with a back three. It has worked well for Mikel Arteta so far, and there’s no reason to change that.”
Arsenal star definitely has reason to feel aggrieved over international snub
There is no doubt that Gareth Southgate has made some strange decisions when it comes to his centre-backs. Of course, much of the talk has been centred around his faith in Harry Maguire.
There has also been a lot of criticism for the way he has used Fikayo Tomori. The Serie A winner did not play a single minute after being included in the squad. And he was not even included on the bench for the draw with Germany.
You can understand why White’s versatility did him few favours. England have an outrageous amount of depth at right-back. Trent Alexander-Arnold endured a miserable break, not featuring at all.
But it is hard to disagree with those who believe that White was more deserving than at least one of the centre-backs Southgate picked.
Ultimately however, it has benefitted Arsenal. White is now even fresher for this weekend’s North London derby.