Arsenal defender William Saliba has revealed a strict rule that manager Mikel Arteta has introduced to aid team cohesion.
Saliba has been a key player for Arsenal since the beginning of last season, when the 22-year-old was integrated into the squad following several loan spells.
The Gunners star missed the final two months of last season due to a back injury, and Arsenal’s form noticeably tailed off as they struggled to replace the Frenchman’s influence.
He told the Daily Mail earlier this year that Arteta only spoke to him once during the first week of pre-season in the 2022/23 campaign – but was soon left impressed by Saliba’s performances.
The lack of communication with Saliba early on would clearly have been a ploy from Arteta, given his keenness to cultivate a strong team spirit throughout the squad.
And the defender has explained how his manager goes to great lengths to ensure that on-pitch partnerships between players are as strong as they can be.
William Saliba reveals Mikel Arteta rule
Speaking to Arsenal’s official website, Saliba revealed that Arteta had a strict rule during mealtimes that began during the club’s pre-season tour of the USA – tables must be mixed.
The Frenchman added that it wasn’t just players that were mixed, with coaching staff also involved. The aim was for the squad to become ‘closer and closer’, as well as people talking to others that they may know little about beforehand.
He explained: “The coaches will speak to us about how important it is to be a unit and to be together, not just with the fans, but as a team as well.
“An example is when we were on tour in America, for every meal we always mixed the tables. We don’t get to choose the table where we sit at lunch or dinner.
“We get to speak to the coaching staff, to other players and I really like that. There might be a player there who you speak to less and it’s a chance to know them more, to be together, and that all helps as a team when you are on the pitch too.
“It really helps when you are on the pitch.”