Didier Deschamps has suggested inexperience was behind France’s defeat to Denmark on Sunday, after William Saliba was substituted at half-time.
William Saliba had earned a start for France at the weekend following a positive 67-minute substitute showing against Austria earlier in the break, but Sunday’s match didn’t go to plan.
Denmark race into a 2-0 lead by half-time, and though it would be harsh to blame Saliba for either goal, France boss Didier Deschamps clearly believed he needed to be withdrawn.
Along with Eduardo Camavinga, Saliba was substituted at the break. After the game, the manager suggested a lack of experience was to blame for the team’s defeat.
“I don’t think it’s a shipwreck, we also had a lot of chances but we were ineffective, we made some errors when playing out from the back,” Deschamps said.
“It’s a young French side, where the majority of the players don’t have experience at the very highest level.
“It’s not a question of formations, but when you have four corners and a Danish player is left alone each time, you can play with three, five, or twelve at the back, it doesn’t change a thing.
“There’s no need to worry, the fact that the players with international experience are coming back will do us good.”
With the Saliba and Camavinga half-time substitutions, it’s hard not to see those comments as a reflection of Deschamps’ assessment of their performances.
But Saliba has made so much progress in such a short space of time for club and country. It’s inevitable he’d have some setbacks, and this is just one of them.
The centre-back has been in excellent form for Arsenal, and Gunners fans will be happy enough to see him only play 112 minutes over the international break.
If he continues as he’s started the Premier League season, he’ll surely make the France squad for the World Cup, even if it looks like he has some work to do to convince Deschamps to start him.