Jamie Carragher likens William Saliba to Virgil van Dijk | inside World Soccer

Jamie Carragher likens William Saliba to Virgil van Dijk

Friday, October 7, 2022

Jamie Carragher likens William Saliba to Virgil van Dijk
Photo: @Arsenal

Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher believes Arsenal have found their own Virgil van Dijk in William Saliba.

Van Dijk has long been held up as one of the best central defenders in the world, but Saliba has all the attributes to reach the incredible levels the Dutchman has set over the last few years.

His impact on the Arsenal team can't be underestimated - nor can how much his performances have contributed to the impressive start to the season the Gunners have enjoyed.

Saliba has been a standout performer for Mikel Arteta's side and has been lauded by pundits, with Carragher seeing similarities between the 21-year-old and Liverpool's defensive linchpin van Dijk.

Carragher wrote in his column for The Daily Telegraph that Saliba could be the man to transform Arsenal's defence and consequently take them to the next level as a team.

At Arsenal, the integration of William Saliba and signing of Gabriel Jesus have elevated the team's performances to a point where they look like a top-four team again.

Saliba is a modern centre-back in the van Dijk mould. He is fast enough to deal with the quickest strikers, aerially strong to cope with target men, and comfortable in possession to ensure his side can play from the back.

These are early days and Saliba has a long way to go to match van Dijk's long-term influence at Liverpool. But he has had an immediate impact on how structurally sound a previously flaky defence looks. There is an echo of van Dijk's early months at Anfield.

The major tactical difference a player such as Saliba makes is in enabling the team to play higher up the pitch, trusting their pacey, multi-faceted centre-half to react if strikers try to get in behind.

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