Man Utd legend Gary Neville compares William Saliba to Rio Ferdinand as Jamie Carragher praises the ‘Real Deal’ debutant

WILLIAM SALIBA has been compared to Rio Ferdinand after appearing as Man of the Match in his Arsenal debut against Crystal Palace.

The 21-year-old, who joined from Saint-Etienne in 2019, was the standout player in the Gunners’ 2-0 away win at Selhurst Park.

Arsenal defender William Saliba starred in the 2-0 away win at Crystal Palace

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Arsenal defender William Saliba starred in the 2-0 away win at Crystal PalaceCredit: PA
Saliba was the standout performer at Selhurst Park in his Gunners debut

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Saliba was the standout performer at Selhurst Park in his Gunners debutPhoto credit: AFP

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After three loan spells from the Emirates, Saliba looked like he had played at the highest level for years.

And his performance had Manchester United legend Gary Neville flattering the France centre-back in Arsenal’s dismal London Derby win.

The Sky Sports pundit: “I was massively impressed with him. He reminded me of a young Rio Ferdinand.

“He’s such a young defender at 21. It would have been happiest for Mikel Arteta to get through that second half when Arsenal weren’t at their best.”

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Equally effusive was his colleague Jamie Carragher, who named Saliba his man of the match.

He remarked: “It’s not easy for any defender to come here, but William Saliba was excellent, he really has.”

Before adding: “You can argue if taking him out was the right thing to do [on loan]but a 21-year-old Premier League centre-back – do you want to do that at 19, 20?

“It’s not easy, but he looked real.”

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After the game, Arteta insisted Carragher had rightly named Saliba man of the match.

He explained: “Rightly so, I thought he was great tonight.”

Saliba was delighted to finally make his Arsenal debut as he said: “I’ve waited a long time for this moment and I’m excited to start my first game with a win and a goal against.

“It helped me to spend two years on loan in France because I’m young and I have to play. Now I’m back and I hope we can have a good season.”

He said of the win: “It was tough, but we’re happy to have won today. We conceded a few chances but we were strong and solid.

“It’s the first game. We knew it was going to be tough here so we stayed compact and strong and that’s good for the team. It’s important to gain trust.”

https://www.the-sun.com/sport/football/premier-league/5941015/arsenal-william-saliba-praise-crystal-palace/ Man Utd legend Gary Neville compares William Saliba to Rio Ferdinand as Jamie Carragher praises the ‘Real Deal’ debutant

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