Ben White makes the England squad : Mudryk linked again

Good morning everyone, I hope you have had a great week so far.

A quick recap of Friday for you, and we’ll start with the news that Ben White has been included in England’s squad for the World Cup later this month. That it’s been a question for so long is really amusing, given that he’s been so good this season, and England aren’t exactly blessed with great defenders at the moment.

Although he has been playing right-back at Arsenal, he is a consummate defender and could easily replicate that form more centrally, as he did last season for us. Gareth Southgate looks married to Harry Maguire as ‘one of our best defenders’, news that will have England’s opponents in the tournament licking their lips, so it remains to be seen how much White will play.

Since he talked about not watching football, I suspect he’ll push hard to be included in the team because it’s a long way to go to sit down and do something he wouldn’t even do on his own couch. Southgate was asked if he had spoken to the 24-year-old to let him know, and he replied:

“No. The only people I’ve talked to are the ones I’ve mentioned. [left out]. I hope he is very excited to be involved.”

My first thought was ‘You don’t know Ben White at all, do you?!’ Still, it’s more than a reward for his form this season, and you never know what can happen during the tournament in terms of playing time. England have a relatively friendly group, and Ben joins Aaron Ramsdale and Bukayo Saka as part of the squad.

Elsewhere, William Saliba has been selected for France, an unexpected twist given how well he has done for us this season. Granit Xhaka captains Switzerland, Matt Turner is for the USA, and overall there is a fair amount of Arsenal representation in the tournament that corrupt FIFA fraudulently awarded to Qatar after fraudulently awarding the previous one to Putin’s Russia.

Elsewhere, a lot of transfer talk is already starting to happen, even though the January window doesn’t open for another 6-7 weeks. Reports that we have bid over £50m for Mykhaylo Mudryk are good for those who thrive on the clicks such reports generate, but I suspect they are premature for now.

I think there is genuine interest in the player, who is exciting and very, very quick, but considering Brentford were in talks about him over the summer and the fee was around £20m, it’s hard to square that kind of price jump. To be fair, he has played well this season, both domestically and in the Champions League, but I’m a little wary of that kind of fee and such a definitive report at the moment.

There will no doubt be plenty of discussion in January to help us get through the period without Arsenal during the World Cup, and Arsenal fans will be keen to see the club ramp up the squad to maintain our performance levels in what will be a packed second half. it’s from the season. There is still a lot of football to play for, and when the Europa League round of 16 gets serious, we will see a lot more ‘first team’ players involved. I think that’s partly why Mikel Arteta has been banging on the drum about these guys being ready to play every three or four days. They will be needed.

That doesn’t mean we can’t take some of the load off of them by adding more first-team ready players to the squad during the January window. We’ve gotten through the first few months of the season very well, but it’s also clear that there are certain areas that require additions to keep us competitive on two, and maybe three, fronts (if we go to the FA Cup).

Much more on that to come. Ok, I’ll leave it there for now. There’s a new Arsecast for you below, chatting with Andrew Allen about Wednesday’s Carabao Cup game and Amy Lawrence about many other things, including January. Listen happy.

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