Saliba makes Arsenal debut for the U23s by Shenel Osman
It may not be too long before we see William Saliba in the first team at Arsenal, but until then it seems as though he is helping the Under-23’s get their campaign underway.
Fans hoping to see him even on the bench against West Ham yesterday were disappointed to know that he featured for the U-23’s on Friday during their 2-2 draw with Brighton, and is continuing to be eased into the first team after he had a rather injury hit time when playing for Saint Etienne. The good news is though that he got through the whole game.
Arteta spoke about Saliba last week and said: “I think it’s going to take him some time to adapt to our way of playing, but as well to get adapted to the language, the rhythm, the physicality of the country.”
Although he wasn’t on the scoresheet, he seemed to have impressed during the game, showing composure and quality to dominate play from deep. The U-23’s continuously pushed forward throughout but in the lead up to the goal, Saliba played a key role, he stepped up, skipping forward out of the defence, where he played a pass into the attack that Olayinka was able to turn and finish into the bottom corner to make it 2-1 to the Arsenal. Despite creating a number of chances after that to put the game to bed we were soon made to pay for the misses, Danny Cashman headed in at the far post to make it 2-2 for the share of the spoils.
Saliba himself spoke to Arsenal.com a few days ago, and it sounds like the teenager still has a need to improve his English. “I had an Arsenal jersey when I was little with Thierry Henry [on the back], so I liked the club since then,”
“Now I am very proud to have the Arsenal jersey.
“I don’t know why [I got it]! I went in the shop, and I only wanted Arsenal. I liked Vieira and Thierry Henry because I was little and I only knew the French players and they were very good.
“I am very, very proud to have the number four, so I have to be ready to carry number four.”
It is exciting to hear positive words from Saliba but he will need to settle in, although as much as we would like to witness that talent in the first team for sure, we may have to wait a bit.
Gooners how long do you think it will be before we see Saliba in our first team?