The French international has been one of the breakthrough stars of the Premier League so far. He has formed a strong partnership with Gabriel Magalhaes at the heart of Arsenal’s defense.
Based on his excellent start to life in the Premier League, William Saliba has been compared to Manchester United Legend and former England defender Rio Ferdinand.
However, Rio Ferdinand believes it is too early to compare the Arsenal youngster to him and has named four former Premier League starts, who were better than the French international at 21.
According to the Manchester United Icon, the likes of John Terry, Jonathan Woodgate, Sol Campbell, and Wes Brown were better defenders than the French international at this age.
Who is Rio Ferdinand’s pick for the defender who was better than William at age 21?
Speaking on his YouTube channel, the former Manchester United and England defender said: “Jonathan Woodgate, Sol Campbell, John Terry, trust me. Woodgate 100% without any hesitation.
“Wes Brown at 21. He was winning the Champions League. He was on the treble-winning team, he played games on that team’.
Reacting to the French international performance against Manchester United, Rio Ferdinand said: “He failed the Rashford test. You don’t need to put this pressure on Saliba. He’s just five games in, just let him play.
“You’re salivating over Saliba, but he’s probably in the changing room thinking I’ve got my DNA on two, maybe three, of the goals in some way, shape, or form.
“Some people might say three, I’m saying two. His fingerprints are on two of the goals and he’s sitting there with 0 points from the game.
“He’s playing offside. The manager’s not told him to do that. They didn’t play offside at any other time in that game.
“He’s on the halfway line thinking he’s the last man and steps up over the halfway line to play offside when Ben White’s playing him onside.”
William Saliba’s poor defense resulted in Marcus Rashford’s two-goal, Rio Ferdinand believes the French international has what it takes to be one of the greatest defenders in the Premier League and the World.
“I actually think Saliba’s got a really good chance of being a really, really good player. He just needs time.
“All this pressure you’re putting on him, putting him up against people. I don’t think he needs it. He was on loan last season. His first big test, let’s be honest, was at Old Trafford in a big signature game.
“As a center-back, you cannot sit there and say he played well when you’ve conceded three goals. Please don’t try to tell me that. He’s finished with three goals in his net.
“You can’t say that. I wouldn’t embarrass myself. I’m not saying he’s not a good player. You can’t sit there and concede three goals and lavish him.
“Personal pride would not allow it. If we’ve conceded a goal or two goals in a game and we’ve lost and no goals are a direct fault of mine, we take it as a team.”