Arsenal's Mikel Arteta: Ben White's England omission is based on selection, not injury issues

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has insisted defender Ben White is fit and was left out of the England squad on selection grounds.

The 24-year-old was an absentee from Gareth Southgate's 28-man squad for the UEFA Nations League matches against Italy and Germany later this month, the final chance to impress at international level before the World Cup begins in November.

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There had been speculation White was struggling with an injury but when asked if White is fit with the Gunners due to face Brentford on Sunday, Arteta replied: "Yes."

Pushed on whether it was a decision based on form, Arteta said: "Yeah, yeah. He's fit."

White is primarily a centre-back but has started all six matches at right-back, a position where England have several established options with Trent Alexander-Arnold, Kieran Trippier, Reece James and Kyle Walker all selected by Southgate.

"He's played in both positions, sometimes he's been selected, sometimes no," Arteta said of White, who pulled out of England's previous squad in June with a hamstring problem.

"I think if you have a versatile player who can play at the level Ben can as both a central defender and full back, in my opinion, that's something any manager would want, especially when you go to a tournament where a lot of things can happen. But that's Gareth's decision and his coaching staff. What I can tell you is that whenever Ben gets the call he'll be ready."

Arteta also confirmed that Emile Smith Rowe, who was also omitted by Southgate, is managing a groin problem and is unsure when he will return to full fitness.

"That's been an ongoing issue that he's had," Arteta added. "He's had some discomfort in the groin area and hasn't had any continuity this season. It's something we are trying to assess.

"We're trying to help him as much as possible in any way we can because we need him fit, we need him available and we need him performing at his best level because he's such an important player for us. Unfortunately for this period and periods last year we haven't had him."