Much has been said about who will be called up to replace Trent Alexander-Arnold ahead of EURO 2020, but on Monday morning that debate was put to bed as Gareth Southgate called up Ben White to be the 26th man in his squad.
Many England fans seemed baffled by the decision to call up the Brighton defender over the likes of James Ward-Prowse, Jesse Lingard, and Ollie Watkins. However, it could be the smartest choice with both Harry Maguire and Jordan Henderson both sweating over their fitness ahead of England’s Euro opener next Sunday.
White’s ability to comfortably play at both centre half and in midfield could be invaluable if the United and Liverpool stars fail to make it.
For Brighton this season, White has been one of the standout players, along with his call up on Monday he was announced as the club’s player of the season, and it’s easy to see why.
In the Premier League this season he helped the seasiders to 11 of their 12 clean sheets, as well as helping them build from the back with an impressive 83.2% pass accuracy.
The fact White has been playing under a progressive coach in Graham Potter will have helped his case, with Southgate looking to employ a playing out from the back system, the Seagull’s defender will have no problem slotting into the backline if and when needed too.
In the two warm up games against Austria and Romania he showed his quality. During his cameo against Austria, he saved England from embarrassment with a last gasp goal line clearance and on his full Three Lions debut he looked like the more senior centre-half when paired with the more experienced Tyrone Mings.
And if Maguire does fail to be fit for the opener against Croatia on June 13th, White’s performances in the warmup games have certainly given the England boss a selection headache on who to partner with Stones.
Wolves’ Conor Coady and Aston Villa’s Mings are the other options at centre half, but many would say neither have had as good a season as the Brighton defender.
So, despite the 23-year-old being one of the least experienced players in the England squad, his performances for both Brighton and England this season have shown that he is a quality player and fully deserving of his place at EURO 2020.