Didier Deschamps has been impressed with how William Saliba responded to an uncertain future at Arsenal. The 21-year-old returned to the Emirates Stadium in the summer from a successful season-long loan at Marseille.
Saliba was handed his senior debut for France during his time with the French giants, winning Ligue 1 Young Player of the Year. With world-class performances against the likes of Kylian Mbappe, Neymar and Lionel Messi, he began to court interest from some of Europe’s biggest clubs.
Having been sent out on loan twice by Mikel Arteta, the Frenchman was heavily linked with an exit from the Gunners upon his return. But, Saliba was granted an opportunity to impress and he hasn’t looked back since, taking a claim to be one of the Premier League’s top centre-backs.
In what has been an impressive turnaround, the defender’s efforts haven’t gone under the radar. Speaking to The Athletic, Deschamps seemed proud to see Saliba begin to fulfil his potential despite the odds being once against him.
“In September, France locked horns with Denmark in the UEFA Nations League and the Arsenal star was hooked at half-time after having gone 2-0 down – as was Real Madrid youngster Eduardo Camavinga. Speaking to TF1, Deschamps explained his decision to do so.
“I don’t think it’s a shipwreck, we also had a lot of chances but we were ineffective, we made some errors when playing out from the back,” he said. “It’s a young French side, where the majority of the players don’t have experience at the very highest level.
“It’s not a question of formations, but when you have four corners and a Danish player is left alone each time, you can play with three, five or twelve at the back, it doesn’t change a thing.
“There’s no need to worry, the fact that the players with international experience are coming back will do us good. Cama was not in the best mood, it can happen. He has not been with us for a long time and he’s starting the match already.
“He was not the only one either. It will serve him well for the future just as it will serve others. Obviously, we have young, quality players who are learning but the important thing is to recover all our vital, experienced players for two months’ time.”