Roy Keane insists Deschamps is right to challenge Saliba to prove him wrong

Roy Keane and Gary Neville recently discussed Didier Deschamps’ handling of William Saliba, particularly as the defender strives to establish himself on the international stage.

Despite being one of the standout defenders in the Premier League since joining Arsenal, where he often earns Man of the Match accolades, Saliba has faced challenges adapting to the international arena. His performances with the French national team have shown signs of inexperience, occasionally leading to mistakes that are less frequent in his club outings.

However, Saliba is determined to alter Deschamps’ perception of him. He started in France’s Euro 2024 opener against Austria and aims to continue impressing to earn more opportunities and build his international career.

Deschamps previously expressed reservations about some aspects of Saliba’s game earlier in the year, prompting discussions among pundits like Keane and Neville about the manager’s approach to nurturing the young defender’s potential in the national team setup.

Keane insists it was right for the manager to challenge his defender. He said, as quoted by the Daily Mail:

‘I like it. I think it’s right, challenge your players. I like it a lot. The quality in that squad is fantastic.’ 

Just Arsenal Opinion

Saliba remains one of the best defenders in the Premier League, and it is great to see him gain some relevance on the international stage.


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Tags Didier Deschamps Roy Keane William Saliba


  1. It’s because Deschamps doesn’t like the way Saliba passes the ball back to the goalkeeper when under pressure. This is what he is use to doing at Arsenal, but Deschamps prefers him to hoof the ball up field to safety and not take risks inside the penalty area. Saliba is trained to play the passing game with the goalkeeper and defender at Arsenal.
    All is ok when it works with the right type of goalkeeper who is comfortable playing the ball. Maybe the French Goalkeeper is not that type of goalkeeper, which makes the manager nervous that Saliba plays that way.

    1. But is that the reason Deschamps for not trusting Saliba? Or is it just your own intuition?

  2. I think Konate gets the shout because he has experience playing alongside Upamecano. Deschamps must have initially liked what he saw from those two as a pair

  3. Defensive partnership is important.

    I think Saliba just needs to prove he can break the existing partnership and form a new one with either of the existing & established partners.

    Saliba is good. It is a matter of time and patience for him.

    Even at Arsenal, it took him so long to establish himself at Arsenal, despite our woes in defense for some time.

  4. The most salient fact that has not been raised by Keane or any other pundit for that matter, is that Saliba is far better and comfortable at right centre back than he is on the left where he played for France against Austria.The dilemma facing the French Manager is that all his centre backs are more effective at RCB which is why he has been unable to find a balanced pairing which can provide the solidity he needs in what is an attack minded side. The French central defence has been cited by many as a weak link in a side full of talent and while they have been fairly successful in the international stage French journalists and the footballing public are aware of the chink in their armoury which could be exploited at the top level.Against a very fit and energetic Austrian side, France failed to dominate the ball in the second half because their back four were unable to hold a high line and had to resort to passing the ball back to their keeper who came under pressure and had to resort to kicking it long ,resulting in lost possession.By my count Saliba passed the ball back to his keeper at least 13 times whereas at RCB for Arsenal he is far more progressive in his passing and positioning.

  5. Lack of trust from the manager that makes Saliba a little nervy as he fights to impress the coach and also the position he was being played wasn’t his natural position.

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