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Premier League

I transformed Arsenal star into world-class defender, just like I did with Virgil Van Dijk

A Proud Mentor

Former Southampton manager Claude Puel watched the Arsenal vs Liverpool match last month with a sense of pride. While his former protégé, Virgil van Dijk, shone on the pitch for Liverpool, Puel had his eyes on another young defender he helped develop – William Saliba of Arsenal.

One of Europe's Best

Puel has hailed Saliba as one of the best young defenders in Europe and the world. According to Puel, Saliba's performance against Liverpool showcased his immense talent and ability to play in top teams.

From Slow Learner to Star

When Puel first encountered Saliba during his time at St Etienne, he noticed that the young player needed improvement in certain areas. However, after months of hard work and coaching, Saliba transformed into a fantastic player and had a successful season under Puel's guidance.

Unfortunate Circumstances

Despite Saliba's progress, he did not make his senior debut for Arsenal until August 2022. Puel sympathizes with Saliba's frustration over not being given more opportunities earlier. However, Saliba maintained a positive attitude and continued to showcase his skills while on loan at OGC Nice and Marseille.

A Coach's Impact

Puel takes pride in his coaching impact on young defenders like Saliba, Van Dijk, Wesley Fofana, and Harry Maguire. He believes in developing players and helping them reach their full potential. Puel's coaching played a crucial role in Van Dijk's rise to become one of the world's best defenders.

Saliba's Importance to Arsenal

Puel acknowledges the significant role Saliba plays in Arsenal's defense. His absence due to a back injury last season had a detrimental effect on the team's title hopes. Puel takes pride in Saliba's rise and the impact he has had on Arsenal.

A Missed Opportunity

Puel regrets not being able to select Saliba for St Etienne's Coupe de France final against PSG in 2020. He believes Saliba's presence could have made a difference, even against formidable opponents like Neymar and Kylian Mbappe.

Overall, Puel's coaching has proven instrumental in the development of young defenders like Saliba and Van Dijk. His ability to transform players and help them reach their full potential is commendable.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it mandatory to wear football specific clothing, or am I allowed to wear any athletic wear?

The clothing for football is different from other athletic wear. This is because it is specifically designed to enhance comfort and performance on the field. Jerseys and briefs are typically made from lightweight, breathable fabrics that promote airflow and reduce overheating. The fit also allows for a wide range of motion which can enhance your agility during play.

What is required to play football?

A jersey or shirt is required to play football, as are shorts with stockings. Shin guards and football boots, or cleats. Goalkeepers require special gloves and sometimes even padded clothing in order to protect themselves during dives or jumps. To maintain safety and to comply with rules, it’s important that players wear the right clothing.

What should I look for when choosing a football?

Consider the material and construction when choosing a ball. For players 12 years and older, including adults, the size 5 is recommended. Children should wear smaller sizes that are appropriate to their age. Material should match the surface of the pitch – leather on natural grass, and synthetics for rougher surfaces. Additionally, thermal-bonded footballs offer better waterproofing and shape retention compared to stitched options. Durability, touch, and flight stability are also important characteristics to examine.

Why do football players need to wear shinguards?

Shin guards for footballers are mandatory as they offer vital protection to lower legs that are susceptible to injury in collisions and tackles. They protect the shins by preventing severe injuries like fractures and severe bruising. The football governing bodies enforce the wearing of shinguards to ensure player safety.

Should I wear compression equipment when playing football

Compression gear, such as shorts, leggings, or tops, can be beneficial for football players as they may help increase blood circulation, reduce muscle fatigue, and speed up recovery post-game or training. A tight-fitting material may also help to stabilize the muscles. Compression gear can be worn by anyone, but comfort is the most important factor to consider when choosing such equipment.


  • Studies show that the proper use of shin guards can reduce the risk of injuries in football players by up to 70%.
  • Over 90% of professional football players wear boots with synthetic uppers for better performance and durability.
  • Around 25% of youth football players have reported using equipment that is either outdated or not suited to their position on the field.
  • Approximately 40% of amateur football players wear boots that are not properly fitted, increasing the risk of foot injuries.
  • Compression garments are used by about 50% of professional football players during training sessions for muscle support and injury prevention.

External Links

How To

How to Pick the Right Protective Gear For Football

The protective gear should be a key part of the equipment bag for any footballer. Examine each item to ensure comfort, safety, as well as compatibility with a player’s specific position. Mouthguards must be worn to protect teeth and reduce concussion risk. Padded underwear provides extra cushioning, especially for goalkeepers. Arm and leg sleeves offer minor abrasion protection and compression. It is important that all equipment meets league safety standards, and is properly certified.

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