William Saliba will have to wait to make his first Premier League start for Arsenal after being left out of the Gunners squad to take on Fulham.
Despite getting some minutes during pre-season for Arsenal, including a start against MK Dons, Saliba is yet to make his competitive debut for the club following his move from Saint-Etienne last summer.
The young French defender had looked likely to be included in Arteta’s squad after David Luiz [neck spasm] and Sokratis [calf strain] were the latest defenders to join the injury list just days before the start of the new season.
But Arteta made the decision to leave the centre-back out for the clash at Craven Cottage, preferring to name Gabriel Magalhaes alongside Kieran Tierney and Rob Holding in a back three, with Hector Bellerin and Ainsley Maitland-Niles fulfilling the wingback roles.
Sead Kolasinac was the only defender on the bench who could fill in as a central defender, with Saliba not named in the squad.
Despite concerns from some supporters over a possible injury, Goal have reported that Saliba was merely left out because Arteta is choosing to bed the youngster in slowly, in what is a ‘phasing-in’ period.
Speaking before the game, the Arsenal first team manager had stressed that Saliba will need time to adjust to his new surroundings.
“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,” Arteta began.
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