ARSENAL loanee William Saliba has been called up to the France national team for the first time.
The 20-year-old is yet to play a game for the Gunners since joining for £27million in 2019.
Saliba (L) has earned a maiden France call-upCredit: AFP
But his stunning form on loan at Ligue 1 side Marseille has earned him a call-up to the current world champions.
The defender has been drafted in to replace Bayern Munich man Benjamin Pavard after he tested positive for Covid-19 over the weekend.
And he’ll be hoping to make his France debut in one of the friendlies against Ivory Coast or South Africa on March 25 and 29.
Saliba has impressed in his 40 appearances for Marseille this campaign, catching the eye of Les Bleus’ boss Didier Deschamps.
He’s played 90 minutes in all but one of Marseille’s league games since joining on a temporary deal from Arsenal last summer.
The French side are desperate to sign him permanently, with speculation in recent weeks that Saliba could leave Arsenal WITHOUT Playing a single game.
The Spaniard said: “He’s a long-term player for us and we need to protect him as well. And giving him three or four games is not enough.
“He’s very happy to go there now. Hopefully, he can enjoy his football and be ready for us for next season.”
Further reports last week claimed the Gunners are set to open preliminary talks with Saliba over a contract extension.
That means he could finally get a crack at the first team last season after spending back-to-back years out on loan.
He was named on the bench for the 2020 Community Shield, and featured in a pre-season friendly against MK Dons that same year, but is yet to kick a ball in anger for the Gunners.