Arsenal star William Saliba won't start for France at World Cup – William Gallas

Arsenal star William Saliba will not start for France at the World Cup despite concerns over Manchester United’s Raphael Varane, insists William Gallas.

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Didier Deschamps’ champions are out in Qatar to defend their world title having emerged victorious at the last tournament in 2018.

Varane was expected to start at centre-back for Les Bleus but ongoing concerns around his fitness means Deschamps may decide to pick someone else instead.

Arsenal defender Saliba has been one of the outstanding performers in the Premier League this season, cementing his place at the heart of a Gunners defence that has underpinned the team’s ascent to the top of the table.

Saliba has already been capped seven times at senior level by France but former Gunner and fellow Frenchman Gallas has warned that he is still behind two players in France’s pecking order, even if Varane does not feature.

‘William Saliba has had a brilliant first half of the season, but I think it will be difficult for him to be a starter for France,’ Gallas told Genting Casino.

‘Even if Varane doesn’t play, I don’t think that Saliba would be Deschamps’ first choice to start.

‘You have [Ibrahima] Konate at Liverpool and [Dayot] Upamecano at [Bayern] Munich.

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