Mikel Arteta has lauded Rob Holding’s progress in the past year since he returned from ACL surgery. He described it as ‘incredible’ and noted that he deliberately blocked the defender from moving in the summer because he knew he’d be vital for Arsenal this season.
There were reports this week that the 26-year-old could be in line for a contract extension having featured more than any other CB at the club this season.
Speaking about the defender and his journey, Mikel Arteta said:
“It was almost a year ago when he came back from his injury.
“He had a period when he didn’t play and then he played against Leeds at home [in the FA Cup] and when you compare how he has evolved in a year from there until now, it’s incredible.
“It’s down to him; how professional he is, how much he wants to learn, how much he puts that into every training session. And then there’s his character and his personality. He’s growing in every aspect. I’m really happy with him.
“It’s true that in the summer he came to me because we had a large amount of centre-backs and he wasn’t sure about how many minutes he was going to have. We stopped him going anywhere because we knew he was going to be an important player for us.”
Holding has already matched the total number of appearances he made last season (18) and surpassed his total number of minutes on the pitch (1,287 vs 1,528).
Arteta explained went on to explain why he rated the defender when a lot of people dismisses him.
“It’s [because of] what I see on a daily basis from him. As well, the room he has for improvement, his age. I really like what I see.
“He’s earned the right himself. It’s true that there have been many other conditions that have led him to play so many minutes [this season], we’ve had injuries and other issues, but he has earned the right [to play] and nobody can question that when he’s played, he’s played well.”