O’Hara admits he was WRONG about ARSENAL player; insists he is ‘the real deal’

Date published: Tuesday 16th August 2022 10:52 - Jason Soutar

Jamie O'Hara on William Saliba

Everyone’s favourite pundit, Jamie O’Hara, has apologised for thinking William Saliba wasn’t “up to scratch” to play for Arsenal.

The former Tottenham midfielder has often been critical of Arsenal players, so it is quite refreshing to see him admit he was wrong about something Gunners-related.

We’re already excited for Man United v Liverpool and a crisis club derby six-pointer

Saliba was sent on loan to Marseille last summer after failing to break into Mikel Arteta’s starting XI.

His time in Ligue 1 was extremely productive and after many fans were confused by the decision to loan him out, Arteta has been proven right in his treatment of the player.

The 21-year-old made his competitive debut for Arsenal against Crystal Palace on the opening weekend of the Premier League season.

He put in a superb display as his side kept a clean sheet at a stadium they lost 3-0 at in April.

Saliba was also impressive against Leicester City on Saturday – despite scoring an own goal in the second half of the 4-2 victory.

Benjamin White has played right-back to start the season with Takehiro Tomiyasu getting back up to pace following another injury.

When Tomiyasu is fully fit, it will be interesting to see whether or not White drops to the bench or if Arteta reverts to his central-defensive partnership from last season in Gabriel and the England man.

Neither Saliba, Gabriel or White deserve to be dropped as things stand, but Arteta certainly has a decision to make in the coming weeks.

Three loan spells in France has indicated that Arteta is not too keen on Saliba, though he has put a lot of faith in the young Frenchman so far this season.

And O’Hara has admitted he didn’t know a lot about the France international, but said he wasn’t sure whether or not he would be “up to scratch” to play for Arsenal.

He is convinced after two competitive appearances and a positive pre-season, and believes Saliba looks “the real deal”.

“I wasn’t sure of him because he’d gone out on loan, I hadn’t seen him play loads,” he told talkSPORT (quotes via the Evening Standard).

“I was thinking maybe he wasn’t up to scratch to play for this team… and I’ll apologise, I absolutely got that wrong. He is the real deal, what a signing.

“What a player he is and I know that he’s young but he could be sensational. He’s still got things to work on, like his positioning, but he looks really, really good.”

O’Hara continued: “But Arsenal will concede goals, in the full-back areas you can get at them. I like Oleksandr Zinchenko but he’s not great one vs one so I think that will be an issue for them position-wise.”

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