Gabriel hails William Saliba as ‘the best’ after impressive Arsenal debut

·2-min read
Gabriel hails William Saliba as ‘the best’ after impressive Arsenal debut

Arsenal defender Gabriel has hailed his centre-back partner William Saliba after he excelled on his Premier League debut.

Saliba joined Arsenal in 2019 for around £28million, but it was not until last Friday that he made his debut.

The 21-year-old impressed, earning the man of the match award and helping the Gunners kick off the campaign with a 2-0 win against Crystal Palace.

Gabriel, who was paired alongside Saliba in the heart of defence, has praised the Frenchman and believes he has settled well in London.

“For me, he’s the best! He’s very young, very promising and a very good player,” he told Standard Sport. “I am so happy to play with him, together. He has now started in the Premier League and he was so good.

“The team did very well. They showed intensity and everyone stayed together. It’s very difficult to play here, but our keeper was strong. I believe in this team and it was very good. We got a clean sheet and three very good points.”

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta was impressed with Saliba too, who has carried on his fine form from pre-season.

“You don’t really see that,” said Arteta when assessing Saliba’s debut. “At 21 years old, debut in the Premier League, against this opponent, against physical players - and resolve that situation the way he has done it.

“With that composure, with that calmness and with that presence. So big credit to the boy. I wanted to let him be and let him play, that’s the way we have tried to develop that player.

“To sign him at 18 years old and bring him back two years later is something unusual and he has been so determined and willing to come here and now proved the point that he is ready.

William Saliba Arsenal career in pictures

William Saliba of Arsenal breaks past Jean-Philippe Mateta of Crystal Palace during the Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Arsenal FC at Selhurst Park on August 05 (Arsenal FC via Getty Images)
William Saliba of Arsenal breaks past Jean-Philippe Mateta of Crystal Palace during the Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Arsenal FC at Selhurst Park on August 05 (Arsenal FC via Getty Images)
Eberechi Eze of Crystal Palace challenges William Saliba of Arsenal during the Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Arsenal FC at Selhurst Park on August 05, 2022 in London, England. (Getty Images)
Eberechi Eze of Crystal Palace challenges William Saliba of Arsenal during the Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Arsenal FC at Selhurst Park on August 05, 2022 in London, England. (Getty Images)
William Saliba of Arsenal looks on during the Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Arsenal FC at Selhurst Park on August 05, 2022 in London, England (Getty Images)
William Saliba of Arsenal looks on during the Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Arsenal FC at Selhurst Park on August 05, 2022 in London, England (Getty Images)
William Saliba #12 of Arsenal and Dominic Calvert-Lewin #9 of Everton go after the ball in the first half during a preseason friendly at M&T Bank Stadium on July 16, 2022 (Arsenal FC via Getty Images)
William Saliba #12 of Arsenal and Dominic Calvert-Lewin #9 of Everton go after the ball in the first half during a preseason friendly at M&T Bank Stadium on July 16, 2022 (Arsenal FC via Getty Images)
Arsenal forward William Saliba, top, leaps over Everton forward Dominic Calvert-Lewin while competing for the ball during the first half of a pre-season friendly soccer match, Saturday, July 16, 2022, in Baltimore (AP)
Arsenal forward William Saliba, top, leaps over Everton forward Dominic Calvert-Lewin while competing for the ball during the first half of a pre-season friendly soccer match, Saturday, July 16, 2022, in Baltimore (AP)
Gabriel Jesus celebrates scoring the 1st Arsenal goal with (R) William Saliba during a pre season friendly between Arsenal and Everton at M&T Bank Stadium on July 16 (Arsenal FC via Getty Images)
Gabriel Jesus celebrates scoring the 1st Arsenal goal with (R) William Saliba during a pre season friendly between Arsenal and Everton at M&T Bank Stadium on July 16 (Arsenal FC via Getty Images)
William Saliba and Flo Balogun of Arsenal during a training session on July 15, 2022 in Annapolis, Maryland. (Arsenal FC via Getty Images)
William Saliba and Flo Balogun of Arsenal during a training session on July 15, 2022 in Annapolis, Maryland. (Arsenal FC via Getty Images)
ANNAPOLIS, MARYLAND - JULY 15: (L-R) Hector Bellerin, Martin Odegaard, William Saliba, Granit Xhaka, Gabriel Jesus, Reiss Nelson, Arthur Okonkwo and Nuno Tavares of Arsenal during a training session on July 15, 2022 in Annapolis, Maryland. (Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images) (Arsenal FC via Getty Images)
ANNAPOLIS, MARYLAND - JULY 15: (L-R) Hector Bellerin, Martin Odegaard, William Saliba, Granit Xhaka, Gabriel Jesus, Reiss Nelson, Arthur Okonkwo and Nuno Tavares of Arsenal during a training session on July 15, 2022 in Annapolis, Maryland. (Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images) (Arsenal FC via Getty Images)
William Saliba of Arsenal during a pre season friendly between Arsenal and Everton at M&T Bank Stadium (Arsenal FC via Getty Images)
William Saliba of Arsenal during a pre season friendly between Arsenal and Everton at M&T Bank Stadium (Arsenal FC via Getty Images)
William Saliba #12 of Arsenal and Dominic Calvert-Lewin #9 of Everton go after the ball in the first half during a preseason friendly at M&T Bank Stadium on July 16, 2022 (Getty Images)
William Saliba #12 of Arsenal and Dominic Calvert-Lewin #9 of Everton go after the ball in the first half during a preseason friendly at M&T Bank Stadium on July 16, 2022 (Getty Images)
Arsenal fitness coach Sam Wilson with William Saliba during a training session at London Colney on July 11, 2022 in St Albans, England. (Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images) (Arsenal FC via Getty Images)
Arsenal fitness coach Sam Wilson with William Saliba during a training session at London Colney on July 11, 2022 in St Albans, England. (Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images) (Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

“Now we are exposing the player in a really difficult environment where he can navigate and enjoy it and be comfortable.”