France coach explains why Saliba benched Liverpool star against Austria

William Saliba has faced challenges winning over Didier Deschamps in the France national team, often seeing Ibrahima Konate favoured over him by the Les Bleus manager.

However, there are signs of change as Saliba started France’s first Euro 2024 match against Austria last night.

Following a solid performance in a friendly against Canada, Saliba earned his place alongside Dayot Upamecano in the starting lineup.

While not flawless, Saliba performed adequately, contributing to France’s victory with a clean sheet.

After the fixture, Deschamps was asked about the decision to field Saliba over Konate, and he said, as quoted by Get Football News France:

“If I decided to play William Saliba, it is because I thought he was more ready than Konaté for such a match. But I don’t want to lose anyone either, we will need everyone.

“They (Saliba and Upamecano) have 120 minutes together for the France national team, it’s not a lot, but they have this ability to be very solid in one-on-one [situations], even if there were some clearances that they could improve on, they exuded a lot of strength and calmness. We needed that against such an opponent.”

Just Arsenal Opinion

Saliba remains one of the best defenders in European football, and we all knew it was a matter of time before he impressed Deschamps.

Now that he has done well against Austria, he needs to stay focused on continuing to impress at the Euros and keep his place in the France team.


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Tags Didier Deschamps William Saliba


  1. Saliba played at left centre back which was out of position for him. But he gave a good account of himself.
    His performance was evidence of his versatility: and that would be pleasing to the Arsenal coach indeed

  2. I’ve got love for every Gooner everywhere!
    Let’s stay positive, have a good window and get off to a good start (for a change!!)

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