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Rio Ferdinand discusses what impressed him most about William Saliba in win over Tottenham

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Rio Ferdinand lavished William Saliba with praise after Arsenal swept Tottenham aside to gain north London bragging rights following a 3-1 victory.

Second half goals from Gabriel Jesus and Granit Xhaka proved decisive, but it was the commanding display of 21-year-old centre-half Saliba that really caught Ferdinand’s eye.

The France international has emerged as a vital component of Mikel Arteta’s ever improving side who will remain top of the Premier League table for another week at least after their most significant win of the season to date.

It has taken time and patience for Arsenal fans to Saliba in action with three separate loan spells having ultimately proved vital to the defender’s development.

Ferdinand was particularly taken by Saliba’s composure on the ball and pressure situations as he largely restricted Tottenham’s talisman Harry Kane.

Asked what impressed him most about a player who has been compared to Ferdinand himself, the Manchester United legend told BT Sport: ‘I think his composure. He’s very strong, he’s mobile but it’s that composure in the pressure situations.

‘Today he was the most composed centre back on the pitch today, especially from Arsenal’s perspective.

‘I think in the first half there were times in transition when Arsenal could’ve got hurt. How many times do you see him come out with the ball, advance a little bit and then play the ball to another red shirt?

‘At the top level you need to be calm and composed in pressure situations and at the moment he’s showing that beyond his years.

‘He had to be very, very patient and going away and proving himself that shows he’s got character and I’m sure he’ll have a good career going forward.

‘He’s only been here a little bit of time but he’s become a little bit of a fans favourite.’


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