Arsenal’s William Saliba ‘aware’ of differing perceptions in England and France

Named in the Premier League Team of the Year and a displaceable element of the best defence in the Premier League, William Saliba’s (23) reputation has skyrocketed in England since his return from a loan spell at Olympique de Marseille 18 months ago. The same is not the case in France. 

Saliba, in his 13 appearances for France, has yet to earn the trust of Didier Deschamps, as his latest comments show. “He is having a good season, but he also does things that I don’t like so much. For France, he has limited game time, but when he plays, that hasn’t necessarily gone well,” began the France manager in a press conference during the March international break.

The hierarchy doesn’t favour him at the moment, but he is here. Dayot Upamecano has had game time and perhaps William has had less. With certain players, I make sure to persevere, because it can be confidence or little blockages that can shift. Some don’t have any concerns, some need game time. William has had less game time, so that doesn’t allow him to be very calm,” he added. 

Saliba’s compatriot, Marcel Desailly, also told Get French Football News that he “doesn’t believe [Saliba’s] individual qualities to be above average.” On either side of the English Channel, there is a gulf in the way that Saliba is perceived, and the player himself is aware of it. 

Saliba lacking standout performance for France

“William is aware of it (the difference in perception), even if he isn’t someone who mulls over his image too much,” a close relation of the French defender told L’ÉquipeThey added, “It’s explained by the fact that he is judged by his performances for France, and he is aware that he doesn’t have a standout match with Les Bleus.”

So long as Saliba fails to impose himself with Les Bleus, or is denied the chance to do so, those perceptions are seemingly unlikely to change, regardless of his ahcievements with Arsenal.

GFFN | Luke Entwistle

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