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Mikel Arteta has explained why he has not thrown William Saliba in at the deep end at Arsenal. Saliba has been tipped for big things at the Emirates and has impressed during his time at St Etienne.
Arsenal fans were forced to wait an extra year to see him play in English football after signing him as he was immediately loaned back to the Ligue 1 side and they have been left waiting further with Arteta deciding against picking him for their Premier League openers against Fulham and West Ham.
Saliba was an unused substitute for the Community Shield win over Liverpool but hasn’t been included in either matchday squad in the Premier League.
And Arteta admitted that he was planning to ease Saliba in slowly as he adapts to his new surroundings – something he thinks will take time despite believing the Frenchman will be ‘really important’ to Arsenal’s future.
‘I think William is doing really well,’ Arteta said of the 19-year-old ahead of the Leicester clash.
‘He is adapting to the country, adapting to our club.
‘We have to bear in mind that he had a really challenging season last year with the amount of injuries that he had.
‘But he is a player that is going to be really important in our future, things sometimes take some time and we have to respect that.’
Arteta is adamant that both Saliba and fellow new centre-back Gabriel Magalhaes will both learn a lot from teaming up with experienced Arsenal defender David Luiz.
‘I think he is a really good role model for them, for who David is as a person and as a player,’ Arteta added.
‘With everything he has achieved in the game – I think they are lucky to have him around.’