I pulled out of a few England squads – my situation was similar to Ben White at Arsenal

Ben White

Gabby Agbonlahor has admitted that he pulled out of several England squads - before comparing his situation to Arsenal defender Ben White.

The Aston Villa icon earned three caps for the Three Lions between 2008 and 2009 with his last call-up the senior squad coming in 2011. The 37-year-old received high praise from ex-England skipper John Terry for his performance against Germany in a friendly but a consistent run in the team never came to fruition.

In an appearance on the Ben Heath Podcast on Tuesday (May 7), Agbonlahor opened up about his time with England and admitted that he was somewhat unlucky to play at a time when the country was blessed with several stellar strikers.

"In that era I played in, you had so many good strikers, we're talking about [Wayne] Rooney, Michael Owen into the last bit of his career, [Emile] Heskey was a player that did very well for England and Capello really liked playing Emile and he did fantastic," he said.

"You had [Peter] Crouchy, [Jermain] Defoe, and Darren Bent who was scoring goals and [Carlton] Cole doing well." Having spent his entire professional career with Villa, Agbonlahor admitted he'd pull out of England squads if he was nursing an injury that could affect him at club level.

"I didn't enjoy going away with England, say if I had a calf injury where maybe it wasn't super bad but it was something that could affect you for the next [Aston] Villa game," he remarked.

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"I would pull out of England squads because I think I was into 13 to 16 England squads but I pulled out of quite a few because I was more thinking 'am I gonna play'," he added.

He compared his international situation to Arsenal star Ben White who recently recused himself from being called up to England back in March, with the 26-year-old facing competition at right-back from the likes of Kyle Walker, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Kieran Trippier and Reece James, when fit.

"Similar to maybe Ben White, I was a bit like 'why am I staying here for 10 days at the Grove hotel in Watford when I can be back at Villa getting treatment and getting ready for the game'". The defender has played just three times for England since 2021 and hasn't been involved with the team since withdrawing from the squad during the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

Agbonlahor opened about his England experience on the Ben Heath Podcast
Agbonlahor opened about his England experience on the Ben Heath Podcast -Credit:Ben Heath Podcast/YouTube

His decision not to be considered for the squad, despite his top form with the Gunners, disappointed Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate, who admitted previously he doesn't know why White doesn't want to play for England.

"It’s a great shame, he’s a player I really like, a player we took to the Euros, a player I took to the World Cup. I spoke to him post-Qatar because I was keen to pick him, there was clearly reticence on his side. I don't know fully why that is, but I have to respect that," Southgate stated.