After finally making his Arsenal debut during Friday night’s excellent 2-0 victory over Crystal Palace, William Saliba could hardly contain his excitement.
The highly regarded Frenchman moved to the Emirates in the summer of 2019 in a £27 million transfer from Saint-Etienne, but he had yet to play a single senior match for the Gunners until the match at Selhurst Park.
Saliba, though, made the most of his opportunity to shine against the Eagles after a run of loan stints by putting on a man of the match performance that had Sky Sports analysts Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher salivating.
Saliba said that he was over the moon to finally make his official Arsenal debut after the game. The 21-year-old said to Sky Sports: “I’ve been waiting for this moment for a very long time, and I’m thrilled to start my debut match with a win and a clean sheet. You always have to give your all, and it was good. It’s never easy. Since it’s the first game of the season, success is crucial to building team morale and momentum.
The club’s treatment of Saliba, who wasn’t given a genuine look-in until he starred against Marseille last season, has angered Arsenal supporters in previous years. The Ligue 1 team was anxious to recruit the center-half permanently this summer since he made such an impression in France.
However, Gunners manager Mikel Arteta made it obvious that he had no desire to offload the gifted youngster, and Saliba seized the chance to applaud the choices the team had made for his growth. “It benefited me because I’m young and I need to play,” he continued. I’m back, and I’m hoping for a successful season.
Saliba put on such a commanding performance that Carragher, who was commentating the game, selected the center-half as his player of the match. After the game, he praised the Arsenal star, who Neville even likened to Rio Ferdinand.
I thought he was pretty fantastic, Carragher stated. He appears to be a decent player and fits the bill. He looks the real deal, so I imagine Arsenal supporters have been anticipating this kid for a while. He surely offers something by being included. Even just his physical size will undoubtedly aid them in challenging away games.
After the game, Arteta continued to sing Saliba’s praises, saying, “You don’t really see that at 21 years old for a debut in the Premier League against this.”
Following the game, Arteta continued to sing Saliba’s praises, with the Spaniard adding: “You hardly ever see that at 21 years old making your Premier League debut against this opponent, where you have to deal with difficult players, and handling the situation the way he handled it with that composure, calmness, and presence. Big props to the boy for that.”