‘It’s madness!’: Rio Ferdinand quits comparisons to Arsenal star William Saliba as he urges pundits to ‘give him time’ after Gary Neville compared the 21-year-old to the icon of Man United
- Rio Ferdinand called comparisons to 21-year-old William Saliba ‘madness’
- The Arsenal defender has bonded after an impressive start at the Emirates
- But Ferdinand told his Vibe With Five podcast it was too early to draw comparisons.
- Mikel Arteta described Saliba’s performance against Leicester as “incredible
Rio Ferdinand has responded to recent comparisons with Arsenal’s William Saliba, calling the links ‘madness’.
After a strong start to the season, the young French centre-back has been compared to the former Leeds and Manchester United defender – who is widely regarded as one of the greatest to ever play in the Premier League.
And the now-retired former England centre-back responded to links with the 21-year-old on his Vibe With Five podcast, but dismissed any similarities, saying Saliba hadn’t been given enough time to show his true abilities .
Rio Ferdinand dismissed comparisons to William Saliba, calling them ‘madness’
Ferdinand joined Manchester United from Leeds for a record fee of £41million
Ferdinand said: “How many Premier League games has he played. How many Premier League games had I played by then?
“I broke the UK transfer record at that time and people are making comparisons? It’s madness! Give the boy time!
‘He is fine. But you don’t judge players when things are going well, you say great, I like to see the next phase.
Ferdinand’s game was underpinned by his pace and physicality, a couple that has become a staple for any young centre-back in modern football, and he was comfortable playing the ball out of defence.
In Saliba’s first two games for Arsenal this season, fans were delighted with the player they saw showing composure, power and pace at the back for the Gunners.
Initially signing in the summer of 2019 for £27million, Saliba got his first starts for the club this season after three successive Ligue 1 loan spells at St Ettienne, Nice and Marseille.
The 21-year-old centre-back has impressed Arsenal fans with his performances so far this season
Last season he won the Young Player of the Year award thanks to his performances at Marseille, and Arsenal fans had grown impatient with manager Mikel Arteta, wondering why such a player was not not a regular on the team.
But after insisting he wouldn’t get the same playing time in north London, Arteta’s decision appears to have been wise, and fans are now seeing a young defender capable of handling the physical demands of the Premier League. .
Ferdinand added of the 21-year-old, after an own goal in an otherwise strong outing against Leicester on Saturday: “When it’s all going against you and it’s a bit of distress, I always want to see the chest come out, I still want to see the shoulders back and I still want to see you want the ball and see you on the foot with that determination and that desire…a lot of what we don’t get at Man Utd.
Saliba was voted Player of the Match after his performance on his debut against Crystal Palace
“But Saliba, he shows great potential. Young player of the year in France last year, but he has a lot to do to make sure he stays in the team, but he started very, very well.
Arteta added after the 4-2 win over Leicester: “It’s a lot easier to learn when it happens.
“I’m happier today than I was last week with [Crystal] Palace because of the way he played after that, I think it was amazing.
Mikel Arteta was happy with Saliba’s performance against the Foxes despite the own goal