Starting out with local club Bondy on the outskirts of Paris, the centre-back began life as a striker. However, he has admitted to constantly getting in trouble with his coaches.
“I wanted to score in every game, but I wouldn’t say I was a selfish player,” he told the Arsenal website.
“Some strikers are selfish, but I also looked for my teammates too.
“I have to be honest though, and say I was a lazy player. Yes I was lazy, and also I would sulk quite a lot. My manager would always tell me off for sulking, for being lazy in training.
“This is maybe why I wasn’t captain! As I said, I was young in my head, but then I grew up. My coaches helped me a lot at that age. I realised how you had to be on the pitch and I changed.”
Nowadays, Saliba is a star defender for Arsenal and the 22-year-old believes the squad has fostered a warm environment where everybody pitches in.
“You learn about everyone, about every culture,” he continued. “You get to learn a lot about new cultures, and I like it when people come to me as well and ask about France. Maybe they are going on holiday to Paris, or the south of France and they speak to me about it.
“We have very good atmosphere here. Every day we have a laugh, we have a joke, we like being round each other, but when we are on the pitch we go hard and we are serious. It’s important to have both – you cannot do one without the other.”