Saliba: Liverpool legend rips into Deschamps for treatment of Arsenal defender

Saliba: Liverpool legend rips into Deschamps for treatment of Arsenal defender

Seye Omidiora 09:14 - 27.03.2024

The France manager’s recent criticism of the centre-back has provoked former Reds defender Steve Nicol to ask Mikel Arteta to intervene.

Former Liverpool defender Steve Nicol has laid into France manager Didier Deschamps after the Les Blues boss’ apparent criticism of the Arsenal centre-back.

Didier Deschamps on William Saliba

The 2018 World Cup-winning manager handed the 23-year-old defender his 13th international appearance in France’s 3-2 victory over Chile on Tuesday, soon after divulging his reasons for the young centre-back’s inconsistent appearances for the national team.

William Saliba
Saliba in action for France || Credit: Imago

“He is having a good season, but he also does things that I don’t like so much. 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,” Deschamps said, per GFFN.

"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.”

Didier Deschamps
France boss Didier Deschamps prefers Bayern defender Dayot Upamecano to Saliba (Imago/Team 2)

Nicol wants Arteta’s involvement in seeming Saliba-Deschamps discord

Those remarks irked Nicol, speaking on ESPN FC’s daily show, who wants Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta to get involved by reprimanding the 1998 World Cup-winning captain.

Liverpool legend Steve Nicol pictured in 2008 (Imago/Icon Sportswire)

“It is absolutely atrocious that an international manager would criticise a player, who's not his player in the press,” said an irate Nicol on ESPN. “If you've got a problem with a player, you do it in private. And an international manager coming out and criticising one of the best centre-backs arguably on the planet is atrocious.

“I hope Mikel Arteta was the first person to pick up the phone or go and see him or whatever it is to stick his finger in his face and say, 'Don't you talk about my players like that again’. Because it is 100 percent a no-no.

“How dare you talk about a player, who’s not even your player in those terms? I think it’s an absolute joke.”

What comes next for Saliba?

Saliba returns to Arsenal, keen to help Arteta’s side sustain their Premier League challenge and topple Bayern Munich in the Champions League.

The 23-year-old should start the Gunners’ next league game against Manchester City at the Etihad, where the visitors chase their first win since January 2015.