Rob Holding has revealed that he was close to leaving Arsenal on-loan in January, but is delighted to have remained and given an extended opportunity to feature in recent months.
The 21-year-old, signed from Bolton for £2m last summer, started the club’s first three league matches of the 2016/17 campaign. However, Shkodran Mustafi’s arrival combined with depth across the backline meant the young centre-back only featured in cup competitions until the start of 2017.
He was tempted to make a loan move in January with a number of Championship sides interested in signing him, but he listened to Arsene Wenger’s advice and has since reaped the rewards of his hard work on the training ground.
“I didn’t leave in January as the boss wanted me around the team. He saw me playing,” Holding stated.
“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.”
Chambers’ patience eventually proved beneficial as he was trusted with a starting berth in Wenger’s new 3-4-2-1 system during the 2-1 win over Middlesbrough in mid-April.
Since then, he’s featured in the league on five other occasions whilst impressing during a tense 2-1 win over Manchester City in the FA Cup semi-final.
“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.
“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.”
He’s expected to play against Premier League champions Chelsea in today’s FA Cup Final and having been named as part of Aidy Boothroyd’s u21 pre-Euros training camp with next month’s tournament in Poland fast approaching, it’s clear that he continues to develop and has been once again recognised for his impressive displays at Arsenal.