FRENCH international team coach Didier Deschamps and Marcel Desailly both ex-Chelsea players have strangely criticised Arsenal defender William Saliba’s performances for France’s national team.
Saliba has established himself as one of Europe’s best center-backs over the last couple of seasons, delivering top-class performances for the Gunners on a consistent basis, but the French manager has ignored him and even taken a dig at him in the backdrop of another bashing by Marcel Desailly; amid circulating views that the former Chelsea players still carry the years in their careers at Chelsea when the club used to play second-fiddle to Arsenal under Arsene Wenger.
Saliba hasn’t been the first choice for Les Blues, often finding himself behind the likes of Ibrahima Konate and Dayot Upamecano in the pecking order. Now, France boss Deschamps has addressed his reasoning for benching the 22-year-old.
“He hasn’t had a lot of game time with us. He is performing well for his club,” Deschamps made the utterances in a press conference, via RMC Sport.
“At international level, he hasn’t always found himself in the best conditions in matches where I’ve rotated a lot. He isn’t in the same psychological situation with his club, where he doesn’t ask himself if he’ll play at the weekend.
“When he has game time with us, he tells himself he needs to play well because there are others behind him. He is not in a psychological situation that is the same as at his club.
“He has everything he needs to take the next step.” Saliba has been an ever-present for Arsenal this season, playing every single minute in the Premier League so far.
His performances have helped the Gunners establish themselves as one of the most solid defensive sides in the division, conceding just 9.2xGA (expected goals against), comfortably the least in the English top-flight, as per fbref.
Another former Chelsea defender Marcel Desailly has delivered a brutal verdict of Arsenal centre-back William Saliba during a recent interview. Marcel Desailly slammed William Saliba as Arsenal ‘average’ in another brutal verdict made
Chelsea hero Marcel Desailly has delivered a damning verdict of Arsenal defender William Saliba. The French international has established himself as one of Europe’s most talented young defenders over the last few years, showcasing a rare blend of tactical intelligence, defensive reading of the game and the ability to progress the ball between the lines.
The 22-year-old was hugely impressive for the Gunners last season, earning a spot in the PFA Team of the Year for his consistent displays. However, France icon Desailly isn’t yet convinced by the former Marseille loanee.
When speaking about Les Blues’ central defenders, he told GFFN: “Then there is the one at Arsenal too (Saliba) – he hasn’t yet had the game time to adapt to that necessary association. I don’t believe his individual qualities to be above average.
“He’s at a very, very high level but not extraordinary. So before absorbing the international level, he needs to acclimatise to those associations.
“As things stand I don’t know how to associate him with (Ibrahima) Konate or with (Dayot) Upamecano so that he can excel and develop all the talent that he has in him.” Desailly’s harsh comments certainly come as a surprise considering how good Saliba has been since making his Arsenal debut a little over a year ago.
The talented youngster helped Mikel Arteta’s side climb to the top of the Premier League standings before picking up an injury back in March, one that ruled him out of the remainder of the 2022/23 campaign. Without Saliba, the Gunners looked considerably worse at the back, eventually losing out on the title to Manchester City.
Source: Agencies plus London.Football