Holding: Wenger had faith in me at Arsenal
By Aramide Oladipo
Rob Holding has revealed that Arsene Wenger did not think about sending him out on loan in January as he wanted to prepare him for first-team football.
The 21-year-old joined the Gunners from Bolton last summer and he was regarded as a player for the future rather than someone who was ready to be fast-tracked into the starting XI.
Due to a combination of injuries and players returning late from the 2016 European Championships, Holding started Arsenal’s first three Premier League matches.
But he was then frozen out of the team, bar a few cup games, and did not feature again in the Premier League match mid-April.
Holding then grasped his opportunity in Wenger’s new-look three-man centre-back system and has been an integral player in the team’s recent revival.
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“I didn’t leave in January as the boss wanted me around the team. He saw me playing,” Holding told the Evening Standard.
“I just had to listen to him and keep working hard on the things he mentioned. That has spoken for itself over the last few games.
“I got a look in at the start of the season and then some cup games. After that it was just about being on the training pitch, putting the work in and getting another chance.
“Since I got the chance, I’ve managed to take it and the boss has shown some faith in me to keep me in the team.”
Following the 3-0 defeat to Crystal Palace, Arsene Wenger decided to start Holding away at Middlesborough in a new back three system.
The Gunners went on to win eight out of the last nine games in all competitions and the defeat came in the North London derby against Tottenham when Holding was named on the bench.
In other Arsenal news, this 22-year-old Gunners player is confirmed to have said goodbye to his team-mates.