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Declan Rice sends passionate message to Ben White after Arsenal star snubbed England

Rice will captain the Three Lions on his 50th senior cap in Tuesday night’s friendly against Belgium at Wembley Stadium.

But White will do no more than watch from home after causing a stir by rejecting Gareth Southgate’s call-up for this month’s double-header, which started with a 1-0 defeat to Brazil on Saturday.

The 26-year-old right-back, who is naturally a centre-back, has been a crucial cog in Mikel Arteta’s thriving Arsenal machine during the club’s title challenges across the last two seasons.

But following a reported row with Southgate’s assistant Steve Round in Qatar, he has turned down the chance to represent his country beyond his four caps, the last of which he earned in March 2022.

Rice insists that the decision ultimately lies with White. However, he has hinted that internal attempts to lure him back into the England frame will be made once he returns to Hale End later this week.

“I think the biggest thing is it’s Ben’s life, it’s Ben’s decision. Obviously, people are going to have opinions, people are going to write stuff about it, but ultimately, he’s content with his decision,” Rice explained.

“We had a few days off before we came here so I’m sure Gareth and him spoke in that period. So I don’t know the ins and outs of it. But all I can say is that I would love him to be here.

“Playing against him and now playing with him, seeing how he is… he is very quiet, keeps himself to himself, but when he’s on the pitch, he’d do anything for his team to win.

“I think he’s a really unique player because he can play three positions. In tournaments, that’s so key. He can play centre-back, he can play right-back, he can play inverted full-back.

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