‘You have to be ready’ – Gallas warns youngster against complacency

William Gallas has told William Saliba that he must be ready to play at every opportunity, and that not having played enough will not be an excuse that will sit well at Arsenal.

The defender joined the club from St Etienne back in 2019, but is yet to make his senior debut for the Gunners after three successive loan spells in Ligue 1.

After an amazing 12 months with Marseille last term, where he not only earned the Ligue 1 Young Player of the Year award, but also helped his side to earn a Champions League spot by finishing runners-up in the league to Paris Saint-Germain.

He is now expected to stay at Arsenal for the upcoming season, but first-team football will need to be earned with Gabriel Magalhaes and Ben White having formed a partnership last term, and Gallas has warned him that he will need to be ‘patient’ and remain ‘ready’ to give his best when the opportunities come.

‘He did well at Marseille. He had a great season with Marseille, but Arsenal and the Premier League is another level,’ Gallas told the Metro.

‘I think he has to be patient, I’m sure Mikel Arteta will give him minutes to play and slowly, slowly he will be in the starting XI.

‘What is very important for the young players is to be patient because if not you can get upset. If you are upset you don’t train properly, if you play on the weekend you won’t have as good a performance, so you have to be patient and know your time will come.

‘When a manager puts you in the starting XI you have to be ready. That is the excuse sometimes for players, if you don’t play well in the starting XI, they can say they didn’t perform because they didn’t play very much. No! You should be ready, at the training ground you have to do more because you never know what could happen at the weekend.

‘You could have a situation where maybe at the last moment you have to play, so if you don’t have a good session during the week, how can you be good at the weekend? That’s why you have to be patient.’

This sounds like sound advice from our former defender, although I don’t believe that Saliba will have to wait long to get his chance. Saliba should have pre-season to start to showcase his talents before the season gets underway next month.

Do you think our young defender has the mentality to remain patient if things don’t go his way immediately? Could Saliba still leave on loan if he doesn’t impress in pre-season?


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  1. No one should be an automatic starter, not White, Gabriel, or Saliba. There should be competition to see who plays the next game.

    Having 3 CB’s competing for 2 spots keeps the players sharp, but most importantly IS BEST FOR THE TEAM.

    The depth Arteta is building is hopefully about competition more than just backups. Arteta will decide if there is real competition and what determines being named in the starting 11.

    1. You could be accused of being disrespectful to Rob Holding, who apart from his aberration against Spurs, played pretty well when called upon last season.

      1. That is true Grandad, but I and many see him as a level below White, Gabriel, and Saliba.

        3 Arsenal managers have seen fit to leave him out of consideration unless there is a long term injury at CB.

        It’s not being disrespectful to Holding, but merely applying facts and reality based on the decisions of professional managers in the world’s strongest league.

        I like Holding in the team for cover, don’t get me wrong, but 3 managers have left him out for good reasons.

      2. Depends on how you define “pretty well”, Grandad.

        As for “disrespectful” I believe in straight talking and saying it as is. I support the club way more than any single players and worrying overmuch about their feelings.

        I THOUGHT HIM SLOW AND CUMBERSOME and not at all “pretty well”.
        A good level below the other three CBs we will have and I’d be perfectly happy to see him leave this summer.

        I want only good players at our club and he is not one, IMO!

  2. Gallas was a disgrace at Arsenal, the fact we sold the best left-back in the world for five million and that useless player left a huge stain on Wenger, the fact he won everything possible for Arsenal and Chelsea proves the point and only when he left Chelsea, we won our first trophy since he left Arsenal, bit of a curse

    1. Gallas was a world class defender who lost his head right at the end of what was almost a sensational season. Doesn’t seem like the nicest personality to me, but he was a very good player.

    2. Rome was not build in one day. Lets be patient with our coach and the young players.coz they are thirsty for success

    3. What does what we think about Gallas as a person matter now!? It is of no relevance whatever.

      Stick to the subject is my advice and that subject IS Saliba AND what Gallas said about him . It is NOT ABOUT GALLAS HIMSELF!

  3. Rob Holding is an OK defender, but does not have the full range of qualities required of a defender playing for a top side. However, among some Arsenal fans there continues to be some kind of idea that he is a top level defender.
    As for ‘real competition’, what does this mean?Fans always trot out some kind of sinister subplot when their personally favoured players are not getting playing time or they have a beef with the manager’s approach.
    There is always competition and it’s up to the players to demonstrate why they should be playing. If a player is good enough he will play.

    1. He’s a good defender, but he’s not flashy. To me it’s useful to have decent players who are willing to play a squad role, and won’t start complaining if they’re not in the team every week.
      One thing to point out, though, is that we did concede fewer goals in 20/21, when he played a lot of games, compared to last season. There are other factors and considerations when interpreting this fact, but it does show that he can’t be too bad.

    2. “Real competition” is self-explanatory, or so one would think. It means performances should be a driver in determining selection, best play, the rest wait for the next game.

      For example, Xhaka ALWAYS starts if fit, even at LB in spite of the predictable disaster we all saw coming!

      Or Laca going scoreless how many games and offers so little defensively? Nketiah produced something at least wouldn’t you agree?

      Going way back to the trash Willian served up, Pepe produced more with far less opportunities.

      Competition pushes players, they learn and adapt and drives out complacency. It’s what’s best for the team.

  4. Some very good sense being spoken on here today. Competition is very very good for the squad, it encourages performance, consistency and helps our youngsters grow. If they can’t beat the competition infront of them then they don’t belong at a top club its that simple.

    Arteta spoke about having a large squad that can push each other to new levels of performance. That’s what’s needed now and something Utd and now Chelsea are finding out. Not having someone behind you chomping at the bit to take your spot the teams ability to achieve suffers. It’s what’s killed spurs for the last 10 years, their first 11 was good but is there a threat that any of them could lose their place if they don’t perform.

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