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Saliba targets Arsenal legendary status after France World Cup call

15:00 GMT+3 10/11/2022
William Saliba Thierry Henry
William Saliba is dreaming of following in the line of Arsenal legends who have won the World Cup with France.
  • Saliba one of nine defenders called up by Deschamps
  • Qatar 2022 will be his first major tournament
  • The 21-year-old has won seven France caps

WHAT HAPPENED? The Gunners defender learned he had been called up by Didier Deschamps for Qatar 2022 seconds before he was due to start Wednesday night’s 3-1 defeat to Brighton in the Carabao Cup. And discussing his inclusion with reporters after the game, Saliba spoke of his desire to emulate the likes of Arsenal legends Patrick Vieria and Thierry Henry in lifting the World Cup with Les Bleus.

WHAT THEY SAID: Saliba said: “I want to be the next Frenchmen to do that, like [Robert] Pires or Vieira or Henry. I am so happy and grateful to be in this squad. I wanted to be in it, but in France we have a lot of good defenders. If I am in the squad it’s because I had a good start to the season with Arsenal.”

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Explaining how he found out he had made Deschamps’ 25-man squad just before Arsenal’s meeting with Brighton, Saliba added: “Some people told me just one hour before, but I waited for the coach [to say I was in the squad]. When he (Deschamps) spoke on the TV we were in the warm-up. So when I came back I watched it a little bit on my phone and I saw my name. I was so happy.”

IN THREE PHOTOS:

DID YOU KNOW? Saliba's first ever memory of the World Cup was seeing France beaten by Italy in the 2006 final. "It wasn’t a good memory," he said. "But it’s the first one I saw."

WHAT NEXT FOR SALIBA? The Arsenal defender's final game before linking up with France for the World Cup will be away at Wolves in the Premier League on Saturday evening.