Arsenal defender William Saliba staked a claim to be involved in Sunday’s Premier League clash against Aston Villa with a brilliant moment in training. The centre-back is yet to feature for the Gunners, but will have got Mikel Arteta’s attention as he came up against Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Saliba is yet to make his competitive debut for Arsenal after returning to the Emirates this summer following a season-long loan at his previous club Saint-Etienne.
Arteta left the 19-year-old out of his Europa League, and he has so far been restricted to two Premier League 2 appearances.
However, he wasn’t involved with the under-23s on Friday, leading to speculation he could be included for Sunday evening’s visit of Villa.
It remains to be seen whether Arteta feels Saliba is ready for the rigours of the Premier League – but the teenager did his chances no harm in his latest training session with Arsenal’s first-team stars.
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Saliba showcased his quality in one-on-one situations and his ability going forward – as shown in a behind-the-scenes video of Arsenal’s training session video uploaded to YouTube.
Aubameyang is running on goal when Saliba times his tackle perfectly, dispossesses the Gunners captain and exchanges passes with Callum Chambers before scoring at the other end.
Arteta recently spoke about Saliba’s need for further development before he is ready for first-team action.
The manager also has Gabriel Magalhaes, David Luiz, Rob Holding, Chambers, Shkodran Mustafi and Pablo Mari to call on at centre-back, while Kieran Tierney has been playing in the back three.
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“I explained that he needed that transition year when we decided to buy him,” Arteta said.
“For many reasons that didn’t happen and he needs to go through that.
“With the amount of central defenders that we have in the team, we had to let him out of the squad which is painful.
“After that, we had some injuries and we could have used him but it’s part of this profession.”
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