Gary Neville gives Rio Ferdinand label to William Saliba as Arsenal ace dominates Palace | Soccer | sport

Manchester United icon Gary Neville compared Arsenal defender William Saliba at Rio Ferdinand after the Frenchman’s man of the match performance in the Gunners’ 2-0 away win against crystal palace the day of the opening of the season. The defender impressed as his side came under pressure in the second half but shone on his premier league beginning.

“The most important thing for young players is to play football,” Neville told Sky Sports. “They are stuck between the first team and the reserves, he has football in him. Look, I was massively impressed with him. He reminded me of a young Rio Ferdinand and he will get stronger and his body will get more coordinated, he is such a young centre-back.

“Crystal Palace away is a tough game, they throw everything at you, they drive you all the time, it’s a big night for him. The clean sheet that came through that second half when they weren’t at their best was the most enjoyable thing for Mikel Arteta.”

Jamie Carragher agreed with Neville and was also impressed with the French defender. “I thought he was very good,” said the liverpool added icon. “He didn’t have much to do in the first half, but there was a moment when Arsenal pushed a lot, [Joachim] Anderson kept putting balls over the top but there was a ball that came in behind Ben White but the way he handled it.

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Saliba was named Sky’s man of the match and admitted he was happy with his own performance at Selhurst Park. “Very happy to win today,” Saliba told Sky Sports. “We conceded a few chances but we were strong and solid. That’s how it is the first game, we knew it would be tough here. We stayed compact and that’s good for the debut.

“[I have had a] long awaited this moment, I’m so happy to start my first game with a win and a clean sheet. It helped me spend two years on loan in France because I’m young and I need to play. But I’m back and I hope we have a good season.

“It’s never easy, you have to give your best and that’s good. It’s the first game, it’s important to win for confidence. We’re starting the season well.”

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