Ben White’s World Cup England exit was ‘really WEIRD’, says Emmanuel Petit – who labels mysterious incident as ‘unprecedented in the history of football’ and wonders if he ‘will be the same player’… despite defender’s ‘we back baby’ tweet after Arsenal return

Former Arsenal midfielder Emmanuel Petit has questioned the state of mind Ben White will return to competitive action with Arsenal in following his reported acrimonious exit from England’s World Cup camp.

White left England’s Al Wakrah base in Qatar to return home under a shroud of mystery – with none of England, Arsenal or White publicly revealing the reasons for his departure.

It was later reported by the Daily Star that it had been due to the defender falling out with Gareth Southgate’s assistant coach, Steve Holland, during a team meeting. 

Ben White withdrew from the England camp in Qatar under a shroud of mystery – with the reason given simply as ‘personal’

It was alleged that Holland had been angered by White’s lack of knowledge about his own personal numbers and England’s forthcoming opponents, the USA, and accosted him about such in a pre-match team meeting. 

White, up to that point, had not played a minute – having not been selected for the opener vs. Iran, while he was left on the bench for the 0-0 draw with the USA. He was then ill for the final group game with Wales.  

Speaking ahead of the Premier League’s return on Monday, Petit told Mega Casino that he felt what happened to White was ‘really strange’.   

It was later reported that the reason for his departure was a bust up with Steve Holland (L)

It was later reported that the reason for his departure was a bust up with Steve Holland (L)

Emmanuel Petit questioned the state of mind of the defender - saying his situation was unprecedented

Emmanuel Petit questioned the state of mind of the defender – saying his situation was unprecedented 

‘Ben White… What happened to him was really weird,’ Petit said. 

‘He left the national team because he had an argument with someone? Come on, it’s a World Cup!

‘This is a once in a lifetime event. If something happened, it must have been very serious for him to leave.

‘We all know what it means to wear the national shirt. How will his state of mind be?

‘Will he be the same player after he took the big decision to leave the England squad? Will he get a nasty reception when he plays in away stadiums?’

Petit added that the situation was ‘unprecedented’ and it would be interesting to see how it transpires.

‘This is unprecedented in the history of football and I have no idea what will happen when the teams go back,’ he said. 

The former midfielder, who scored for France in a World Cup final, asked whether White will remain the same player

The former midfielder, who scored for France in a World Cup final, asked whether White will remain the same player

His comments come after Mikel Arteta admitted that Arsenal would be ‘psychologically and physically’ assessing their returning World Cup stars – citing disappointment and added strain on their bodies as the reason for such.  

‘First we’ll assess them and see how they are psychologically and physically after the tournament they’ve had,’ he said.

‘Some of them are still disappointed with some of the results.

‘Then we’ll try to get them back as quickly as possible in the rhythm and routine they’re used to, to start performing again.’





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