Former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has previously explained why he would prefer to give young defenders a chance, despite the increased risk of mistakes. Arsenal are yet to hand William Saliba his full debut since the teenager signed for the club last summer. The young, French centre-back was expected to slot straight into the heart of the Gunners’ defence this season after returning from an impressive season-long loan spell at Saint-Etienne. However, Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta, who watched his side suffer a 1-0 home defeat to Leicester City, has been reluctant to hand opportunities to Saliba, with the 19-year-old having not yet made a single first-team appearance so far this term.
Arsene Wenger said “If I have a young central-defender of 20-years-old, I know he will cost me points in the season, and I have to stand up from that, If I play a 28-year-old centre-back, maybe less talented, he will cost me less points. But I will not give a chance to a young player and at some stage I must say as a manager sometimes you feel lonely to stand up there and say, ‘No, I want this boy to play because he deserves it.’ But just to deserve it I know as well that he will make mistakes, because you learn your job at the age of 23 years of age. At 23, 24 you have a player. But until 23, he may go up and down.”
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