Mbappe names Arsenal star ‘among the best’ in the Premier League ahead of Euros

Kylian Mbappe has praised Arsenal’s William Saliba as one of the Premier League’s top centre-backs and believes he possesses all the necessary qualities to represent France in Euro 2024.

Saliba’s outstanding performances for Arsenal have secured his spot in France’s Euro squad, although he is currently third in Didier Deschamps’ selection list, behind Dayot Upamecano of Bayern Munich and Ibrahima Konate of Liverpool.

France is aiming for their third European Championship title in Germany, continuing their impressive track record in major tournaments.

They previously won the World Cup in 2018 and reached the final in Qatar, narrowly missing out on a historic back-to-back victory due to a penalty shootout loss to Argentina.

Having attended school with Saliba in Paris, Mbappe has closely followed his progress as a professional.

He considers Saliba’s development at Arsenal to be remarkable and is convinced that the young defender is a strong candidate to start for France, who are set to kick off their Euro 2024 journey against Austria on Monday night.

‘I have known him since he was very, very young,’ Mbappe, who left Paris Saint-Germain to join Real Madrid at the end of the campaign, told Ouest-France. ‘We were in the same primary school in Bondy.

‘We played football together on our breaks, even though we weren’t in the same year, but he asked to play with us.

‘We allowed it because he was already big! Then my dad trained him at AS Bondy. I am three years older than him so I saw him grow up by following his journey and his games closely.

‘Seeing him in the national team, going from Bondy to Les Bleus, made me really happy. I tried to integrate him into the group as quickly as possible.

‘This season, he has become a very important player for Arsenal and is among the best centre-backs in the Premier League.

‘He is starting to get minutes with us. It’s now up to him to find his place. For me, he has all the qualities to, in time, be a starter with Les Bleus.

‘I look at his journey with the pride of an older brother. There is no taboo between us and we tease each other. For example, I often tell him that he wants to be the star of Bondy, but that it will never happen!’

Saliba’s stellar performances for Arsenal, coupled with his effective centre-back collaboration with Gabriel Magalhaes, have been instrumental in the Gunners’ pursuit of the Premier League title in recent seasons.

Following their opening match against Austria, France will confront their Group D adversaries, the Netherlands and Poland, as they strive to advance to the knockout rounds of Euro 2024.

JB

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