William Saliba speaks out on Arsenal debut that delighted Jamie Carragher

Daily Mirror 12 days ago

William Saliba has expressed his delight after he enjoyed a dream debut for Arsenal during Friday night's 2-0 win over Crystal Palace - over three years after he joined the club

William Saliba could hardly hide his delight after finally making his Arsenal debut during Friday night's impressive 2-0 win over Crystal Palace.

The highly-rated Frenchman arrived at the Emirates back in the summer of 2019 in a £27million deal from Saint-Etienne, but had failed to make a single senior appearance for the Gunners prior to the clash at Selhurst Park.

But after a string of spells out on loan, Saliba made the most of his chance to impress against the Eagles; producing a man of the match display that left Sky Sports pundits Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville purring.

And Saliba admitted after the match that he had was over the moon to finally make his proper Arsenal bow. The 21-year-old told Sky Sports: “It’s been a long time I’ve waited for this moment, I’m so happy to start my first game with a win and a clean sheet. It’s never easy, you have to give your maximum and it was good. It’s the first game, it’s important to win for the confidence and to start the season well.”

Arsenal fans have been left disgruntled in recent years by the club's handling of Saliba, who had not been given a proper look-in until he dazzled at Marseille last term. The centre-half made such an impression in France that the Ligue 1 outfit were desperate to sign him on a permanent basis this summer.

But Gunners chief Mikel Arteta made it clear that he had no appetite to sell the talented youngster - and Saliba took the opportunity to hail the decisions the club have made regarding his development. He added: “It helped me because I’m young, I need to play. Now I’m back, I hope we will have a good season.”

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William Saliba could hardly hide his delight after finally making his Arsenal debut
William Saliba could hardly hide his delight after finally making his Arsenal debut

Carragher, who was commentating on the game, was so impressed by Saliba's imperious display that he named the centre-half as his man of the match. And he lauded the Arsenal ace, who was even compared to Rio Ferdinand by Neville, after the final whistle.

Carragher said: "I thought he was really good. He looks the part, he looks a good player. I think Arsenal fans have been excited for this lad for a while... he looks the real deal. Bringing him in certainly adds something. Just his physical stature, will certainly help them in tough away games."

Arteta also sung Saliba's praises after the match, with the Spaniard adding: "You don’t really see that at 21-years-old for a debut in the Premier League against this opponent where you face difficult players and resolve the situation the way he’s done it with that composure, with that calmness and with that presence. So big credit to the boy."