After Per Mertesacker was ruled out for up to five months with a knee injury he sustained in our pre-season match against RC Lens, Petr Cech has urged Arsenal’s new signing, Rob Holding, to step up.

The new defender is very comfortable at centre-back – as he showed in our 2-1 win against the MLS All-Stars – but in order to keep hold of the position full-time, he’s going to have to really show Arsene Wenger what he’s made of in the coming pre-season games.

“Now with Per out, the challenge and the possibilities for every central defender is bigger,” Cech said to ESPN.

“It’s up to [Holding] how he’s going to play and how he’s going to work. 

“The same is true for Gabriel and Calum Chambers. This is their moment to show the manager they are up to the task.”

SAN JOSE, CA – JULY 28: Goalkeeper Andre Blake #1 of MLS All-Stars leaps in the air to gain control of he ball away from Rob Holding #16 of Arsenal FC during the first half of the AT&T MLS All-Star Game at Avaya Stadium on July 28, 2016 in San Jose, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

Given that he was handed Aaron Ramsey’s former number 16 shirt, this suggests that the boss does have first team plans for the 20-year-old, but this doesn’t mean he’ll be given a free ride. Holding will need to prove himself – just as the other centre-halves will too.

From what we’ve seen, he’s capable of developing into a very confident young centre-back but he still has to do the work on the pitch.

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