William Saliba admits it was hard for him when he wasn’t playing matches, but he tries to use those situations as motivation.

joie - Gerson Santos Da Silva Olympique de Marseille - William Saliba Olympique de Marseille FOOTBALL : Olympique de Marseille vs AS Saint Etienne - Ligue 1 Uber Eats - Marseille - 28/08/2021 NorbertScanella/PanoramiC
William Saliba – Olympique de Marseille – FOOTBALL: Olympique de Marseille vs AS Saint Etienne – Ligue 1 Uber Eats – Marseille – 28/08/2021. NorbertScanella/PanoramiC

As we approach the end of 2021, William Saliba is coming to the conclusion of a very positive individual year.

The centre-back spent the first half of the calendar year playing for OGC Nice, making 22 appearances in all competitions. Then he joined Marseille on loan in the summer, and he’s made another 22 appearances for them so far.

There’s no real comparison with 2020, in which Saliba made 10 appearances for Saint-Etienne and eight for the Arsenal academy.

Worst of all was the six-month period between March 2020 and September when Saliba didn’t play any competitive matches at all, due to the Covid-19 disruptions and a lack of chances at Arsenal.

Speaking to the media about that spell, Saliba admitted it wasn’t easy, but he tried to ‘feed on it’.

“Of course, there are times when it’s hard,” Saliba said (via Sport Witness).

“You don’t even play a game for six months. You tell yourself that football is a difficult sport.

“You mustn’t give up, you have to fight. It should not be taken negatively. It must serve as a mental lesson to go further.

“It gives you a little slap to remind you that you’re nobody. I feed on it. I know what it’s like not to play for six months.”

william saliba marseille training
William Saliba with Marseille in training

The most positive part about Saliba’s long run of consistent playing time this year is that he hasn’t suffered any serious injury setbacks.

The defender had struggled with injuries after his initial breakthrough into the Saint-Etienne side, but he currently looks to be getting over those issues.

With any luck, he won’t have to experience another six months on the sidelines for a long while.