Arsenal legend Nigel Winterburn says William Saliba will have to adapt quickly to the ‘ruthless’ nature of the Premier League with the teenager in contention to make his debut away at Fulham on Saturday.
Saliba signed for the Gunners last summer in a deal worth £27million, but was immediately loaned back to Saint-Etienne for another season.
The 19-year-old has now been integrated with the squad and played in two pre-season friendlies ahead of the new Premier League campaign.
The centre-back may have been eased into first-team action slowly were it not for a neck injury to David Luiz, which could offer Saliba an early chance to impress.
Arsenal travel to Craven Cottage on Saturday to take on newly-promoted Fulham, who will likely field combative No.9 Aleksandar Mitrovic.
Should Saliba or new centre-back signing Gabriel Magalhaes make their debut, Winterburn is expecting a baptism of fire for either of the young defenders.