By Nnamdi Onyeagwara

6th Aug, 2022 | 9:30am

Gary Neville stunned by William Saliba in Arsenal win v Crystal Palace

Arsenal defender William Saliba has been compared to Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand by Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville.

The defender signed for the Gunners in the summer of 2019, but only made his Premier League debut on 5 August after being loaned out several times by the club.

However, his immense performance against Crystal Palace, had the Sky Sports commentary team raving about the centre-back with Neville taking a particular liking to the young defender.

Worth the wait?

Arsenal fans have had to wait a long time to see Saliba play for Arsenal, but his performance against the Eagles may have proved to be every bit worth the wait.

Saliba started on the right side of the defence, paired with Gabriel Magalhaes, with Ben White starting at right-back being tasked with dealing with Wilfried Zaha.

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Simply put, the Frenchman was immense on the night, comfortably dealing with everything thrown his way from the Crystal Palace attack.

At no point did the occasion or the magnitude of the game get to him, dealing with Odsonne Edouard and his eventual substitute Jean-Phillipe Mateta with ease, playing with composure beyond his years.

He was fantastic in the air winning 100% of his aerial duels, completing 100% of his dribbles, making seven clearances, one block and with the help of his teammates, especially goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale, kept a clean sheet on his Premier League debut.

The similarities between the Frenchman and the Ferdinand are clear to see, with their tall frames, speed and defensive reading of the game.

The former St Ettienne defender was awarded the man of the match award with his solid and mature performance helping the Gunners start their season with a 2-0- away victory at Selhurst Park. [Sky Sports]

A comparison of that calibre so early into his Premier League career is high praise, but if his performance against Patrick Vieira’s side is anything to go by, it may be the standard of performance we will get used to from him.

In other Arsenal news, young striker Folarin Balogun has joined Reims on a season-long loan.