William Saliba, who gave an absolutely brilliant performance at the weekend, has been hailed by his former coach at Bondy, then FC Montfermeil, Fabio Frasconi, who spoke to Eurosport.
“He did not always show that maturity. He was a lovely kid but, at school, he was not rigorous. He was going to school to have a good laugh with his friends. I had to support him to face the disciplinary board several times. His departure for Montfermeil, where he followed me to play with the U15, helped him to grow up. Even if he was not far better than the others, I had never seen a kid with such a desire to turn professional: he knew every single recruiter in the area, even those who did not where their club’s jacket.
“He was playing like a senator. I’ve seen him only once under pressure: for his first game with France U16. He was not good at all but he played again three days later, the manager trusted him. It clicked in him. He understood that every game would not necessarily come down as a sentence.
“What is appreciated is that even if he signed for Arsenal this summer, even if he is earning a lot of money, even if he is regularly called up to play for France, he has never changed and it is a big sign of maturity. Look at him after the derby: he is the one providing the atmosphere, he is the one starting the victory chant. He plays as if he was going to play for “Les Verts” for a long time although he will be a Gunner at the end of the season. He has an incredible state of mind.
“William is Dragon Ball Z. When the level would rise, when the team was struggling, he would transform himself. Once, during a five, there was 10 seconds left to play and it was a must to score to progress to the next round. So, he took the ball, dribbled four players and scored. On the other hand, when it was easier or the opposition was weaker, he would be less good.”