Didier Deschamps explains reluctance to start Premier League star for France

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France manager Didier Deschamps has explained his reluctance to play Arsenal star William Saliba regularly in the national team. 

Saliba had a brilliant campaign for Arsenal, and was arguably the best defender in the Premier League last season, as the Gunners boasted the best defensive record in the league.

The 23-year-old for all his quality has yet to fully establish himself in the French side with Deschamps preferring to go with the likes of Dayot Upamecano and Ibrahima Konate.

Deschamps explains reluctance to pick Saliba

Saliba is currently preparing for France’s opener against Austria on Monday night, and will be hoping Euro 2024 is where he finally establishes himself in the side.

Reports have suggested the Arsenal star could be set to start against Austria, an opportunity he must grab with both hands if given it.

William Saliba in action for France.
Saliba will be hoping to establish himself in the France team at Euro 2024.

Deschamps spoke to The Athletic in the build to France’s first game, and explained his reluctance to start Saliba despite describing him as one of the best defenders in the Premier League.

“William is one of the very best defenders in the Premier League,” he said.

“I want him to do what he does very well at Arsenal, he had a very, very good season.

“He played many matches, especially with his partner Gabriel, and they were a fundamental part of what Arsenal did this season, particularly in the defensive aspect.

“With us, he has not had the same playing time, there are automatisms which develop through playing matches together, you have repetition and understanding.

“With a national team, we always have so little time, but now they have the possibility of living together for a few weeks and that is even better.”

Saliba will be hoping to add to his 15 caps this summer and get his first goal for his country as France look to win the Euros for the first time since 2000.

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