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Arsenal 23yo won’t start at Euros despite call-up

Arsenal 23yo won’t start at Euros despite call-up
Arsenal 23yo won’t start at Euros despite call-up

William Saliba is not set to start at Euro 2024 this summer, despite his call-up to Didier Deschamps’ squad for the tournament.

France's defender William Saliba (L) controls the ball during a training session in Clairefontaine-en-Yvelines on November 15, 2023 as part of the team's preparation for upcoming UEFA Euro 2024 football tournament qualifying matches. (Photo by FRANCK FIFE/AFP via Getty Images)
France’s defender William Saliba (L) controls the ball during a training session in Clairefontaine-en-Yvelines on November 15, 2023 as part of the team’s preparation for upcoming UEFA Euro 2024 football tournament qualifying matches. (Photo by FRANCK FIFE/AFP via Getty Images)

William Saliba has had another excellent year with Arsenal, featuring in many Team of the Season lineups including the recent Premier League Fan Team of the Season.

Saliba helped Arsenal to keep the most Premier League clean sheets and concede the fewest goals in 2023/24, whilst playing every single minute of the league campaign.

With the European Championships just over a week away, Saliba would be guaranteed to start every game for most of the countries involved in the tournament.

DORTMUND, GERMANY - SEPTEMBER 12: William Saliba of France is challenged by Kai Havertz of Germany during the International Friendly match between Germany and France at Signal Iduna Park on September 12, 2023 in Dortmund, Germany. (Photo by Christof Koepsel/Getty Images)

Yet for France, French reporter Julien Laurens suggests the Arsenal defender is set to spend another tournament largely on the bench.

“Upamecano and Konate are nailed on to start,” Laurens told The Totally Football Show this week. “Deschamps thinks they’re the best pair.

“There is something about Saliba he is just not fully convinced with.”

This isn’t entirely new information, with the manager himself saying a similar thing in March.

“He is having a good season, but he also does things that I don’t like so much,” Deschamps said then. “For France, he has limited game time, but when he plays, that hasn’t necessarily gone well.

“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.”

France's defender WIlliam Saliba arrives in Clairefontaine-en-Yvelines on November 13, 2023 as part of the team's preparation for the upcoming UEFA Euro 2024 football tournament qualifying matches. (Photo by FRANCK FIFE/AFP via Getty Images)
France’s defender WIlliam Saliba arrives in Clairefontaine-en-Yvelines on November 13, 2023 as part of the team’s preparation for the upcoming UEFA Euro 2024 football tournament qualifying matches. (Photo by FRANCK FIFE/AFP via Getty Images)

Since his debut in March 2022, Saliba has started seven of France’s 27 matches, despite being in the squad for 21 of them. Unless something changes dramatically in the next week, it certainly seems like he’s set for another quiet tournament.

From an Arsenal point of view, at least he should have a restful summer, particularly as he’s also been ruled out of Olympics duties.