William Saliba learns a lot from watching Virgil van Dijk's defending

William Saliba learns a lot from watching Virgil van Dijk's defending

Arsenal defender William Saliba has praised Liverpool star Virgil van Dijk as a source of inspiration for his own development.

Saliba recently made his return to the field with Arsenal following an extended period of injury. The French defender sustained a season-ending injury in March, which significantly impacted Arsenal's pursuit of their first Premier League title in almost two decades.

In Arsenal's initial pre-season match last week, Saliba was included in the starting lineup, and he is expected to feature once again when his team takes on the MLS All-Stars this Thursday.

Ahead of the upcoming game in Washington D.C., Saliba highlighted Van Dijk as someone who has played a role in shaping his game.

"I still watch him! I really like his quality in one-against-one, his calmness, his composure and his long balls as well. He has everything and, for me, he was a good defender to learn from," Saliba told the Daily Mail.

"I think he was - for two or three years - the best defender in the world."

Asked whether he can develop into the best defender in the world, Saliba added: "Of course I have the quality, but that means nothing. You have to work hard to go to this level.

"So I'm not close to this level but I will give everything to maybe one day become the best defender in the world.

"I'm looking forward to the future with this club. The future will be good for everyone, I hope.

"It won't be easy but we will work hard for this and I know the club will be back at the very, very top. We have to do everything to win every title possible."