By Alex Taylor
Arsenal star Jack Wilshere has praised new signing Rob Holding as a “natural” despite a difficult Premier League debut against Liverpool on Sunday.
The central defender joined the Gunners in the current transfer window and was thrown in at the deep end to start at the back alongside fellow rookie Calum Chambers in the 4-3 loss to the Gunners’ title rivals.
The former Bolton player, 20, was named in the team after pre-season injuries ruled out Per Mertesacker and Gabriel for the clash, and one of his team-mates was impressed by his display.
“I think if you look on the pitch, he doesn’t look out of his comfort zone,” Wilshere told Arsenal’s website. “He is a natural, he is confident on the ball and he wants to play and I think that is the Arsenal way. He is a great addition to the squad and one for the future as well.”
The youngster made 30 appearances last term and was a shining light in Bolton’s wretched campaign that ended in relegation to League One.
He was named Bolton’s Player of the Year last season, and was part of Gareth Southgate’s tournament-winning England under-21 side in the summer that also included new team-mate Calum Chambers.
Once Arsene Wenger’s full crop of players returns, the 20-year-old will face stiff competition to retain his first-team place, with senior players Laurent Koscielny, Mertescaker, Gabriel and Chambers all expected to be higher in the pecking order.