Neville, Cara wax lyrical about Arsenal debutante, compares 21-year-old to Man Utd legend

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Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher Credit: PA Images

Both Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher were full of praise for Arsenal defender William Saliba after his “really good” debut against Crystal Palace.

The Gunners began their Premier League campaign on Friday night with a resounding 2-0 win at Selhurst Park.

Jesus, Saliba shine but Arsenal duo could force Arteta back to the drawing board

The performance was a major improvement over the previous season’s opener at Brentford, where they were played out of the park in a 2–0 loss.

There is a huge amount of optimism in this campaign at Arsenal after the addition of Gabriel Jesus, Oleksandr Zinchenko and Fabio Vieira to the summer transfer market.

One player who feels like a new signing is Saliba, who made his competitive debut for the club on Friday despite being signed from Saint-Etienne three years ago.

He has spent the last two-and-a-half seasons on loan in France and has enjoyed a particularly fruitful spell with Marseille in 2021/22.

The 21-year-old was named Ligue 1 Young Player of the Year and is back at Arsenal ready to compete for the starting berth.

With Takehiro Tomiyasu unprepared to start against Palace, Benjamin White was moved to the right-back, with Saliba working next to Gabriel in the center of the defence.

It was a walk in the park for Saliba, who sky He was adjudged the Player of the Match after a brilliant performance in a very difficult match.

Pundits Carragher and Neville were both deeply influenced by the young Frenchman, with the latter comparing him to his former teammate, Rio Ferdinand.

Neville said (via quote Metro): “I was very impressed with Saliba. He really reminded me of a young Rio Ferdinand.”

High praise indeed. Ferdinand won six Premier League titles, one Champions League and three League Cups in his career and is regarded as one of the best centre-backs of all time.

Neville continued: “He is such a young defender at 21. Getting through that second half, when Arsenal were not at their best, would have been the most enjoyable thing for Mikel Arteta.

“Crystal Palace away, it’s a tough challenge and it’s a great performance from Saliba.”

Carragher said: “I thought he was really good. He didn’t have much to do in the first half, but it was a long ball, the way he faced it, the way he tackled it … he Looked at the business, he saw the part.

“At such a young age, the way he tackled that second half … seemed like the real deal.

“Bringing him in definitely adds something because you always thought it was Arsenal’s weakness. His physicality will definitely help Arsenal in those away games.”

Saliba talked sky After the game, Geoff told Shrives: “We knew it would be tough here but we were strong and solid.

“I have waited a long time to make my debut and am happy to start with a clean sheet and a win. It’s important for confidence.”

Neville, Carrera wax lyrical article about Arsenal debut, comparing the 21-year-old Man Utd legend first appeared on