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Mikel Arteta comments explain William Saliba’s absence from Arsenal squad vs Fulham

William Saliba’s absence from Arsenal’s matchday squad is down to a number of reasons, according to Mikel Arteta.

Gunners fans are excited to see the centre-back make his debut but were made to wait when team news for the Fulham clash drifted through at 11.30am.

Instead, Arteta opted for new signing Gabriel Magalhaes and Rob Holding, with Sead Kolasinac on the bench.

Speaking ahead of the fixture Arteta suggested that it will take time before Saliba is fully integrated into the starting XI.

“I think it’s going to take him [Saliba] some time to adapt to our way of playing but as well to get adapted to the language, the rhythm, the physicality of the country,” he said.

William Saliba was omitted from the Arsenal squad for the Fulham clash.
(Image: Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

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Saliba only made 12 Ligue 1 appearances last season due to a number of injuries and Arteta has expressed his caution surrounding this matter.

“As well we have to bear in mind that he didn’t play much football last season with all the injuries he had,” the Gunners boss added.

“So, I think it will be a process that we have to be patient, picking the right games with the right environment and trying to grow because he [Saliba] has a really good potential.

Saliba training alongside Mesut Ozil for Arsenal.
(Image: Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

“Everyone was saying that we had too many central defenders and it’s a funny case right now that it’s the position we are short at the moment with all the injuries.

“But I’m hopeful in the next few weeks that situation will resolve and we’ll be in a stronger position.”