William Saliba caught the eye with his performance for OGC Nice against PSG on Saturday, despite defeat to the reigning Ligue 1 champions.
Despite spending two seasons in senior football with Saint-Etienne, William Saliba had never played against Paris Saint-Germain before this week.
In his first season in senior football, Saliba was on the bench for both PSG clashes. Then, after becoming a starter in his second campaign, he picked up an unfortunately-timed injury that ruled him out of two further matches against the side.
There were still another two chances to face PSG that season, but the early cancellation of Ligue 1 due to the pandemic meant the first one was called off, and Arsenal and Saint-Etienne couldn’t reach an agreement for the second (the cup final).
As a result, Saliba got his first chance to face PSG on the seventh attempt when he made the starting lineup with OGC Nice on Saturday.
By all accounts, it was a solid individual performance, even though PSG ended the game 2-1 winners.
Saliba made two clearances, one shot-block, three interceptions, and a tackle without being dribbled past. He won all three of his individual duels and didn’t make a foul across the 90 minutes. He also completed 92% of his passes and five of seven long balls.
The 19-year-old didn’t seem to lack in confidence, showing good composure under pressure.
Saliba showing off his skills pic.twitter.com/ssOHUP7BF3
— Taddy™️ (@tmusuka_17) February 13, 2021
It wasn’t a perfect performance, as he perhaps could have anticipated the header back across the box for PSG’s winning goal. But those are the situations you learn from as a teenager facing a top club. On the whole, Saliba will be happy with his display.