Unai Emery says Rob Holding’s comeback was a ‘perfect match’ after the centre-back completed 90 minutes and scored against Nottingham Forest.
After nine months away from the Arsenal first team recovering from an ACL injury, Holding finally returned to the starting lineup against Nottingham Forest on Monday.
The centre-back had already accumulated over 300 minutes playing for the u23s, so he wasn’t exactly straight into the action with the senior side. All the same, there’s always another step up in intensity and pressure playing for the first team.
Thankfully, Holding not only came through the match without any obvious setbacks but also with a very good performance, a clean sheet and a goal.
Unai Emery was clearly pleased with how things had gone against Forest.
“It is perfect to have more options at centre back,” Emery said. “His (Holding’s) spirit, his positive minutes. Every day in training he helps us to have more performances like a team.
“He needed to take minutes and confidence. It was a perfect match. He was a little tired at the end, he’s happy.”
It’s not exactly a secret that Emery is a fan of Holding. The centre-back started 15 games out of the last 17 Arsenal played before his injury. Arguably the head coach was a bit too reliant on the 24-year-old back then.
Emery has also shown his faith in the defender’s leadership qualities by making him vice-captain on the night, even ahead of fellow centre-back Calum Chambers.
It seems we’re set to see a lot of Holding this season, and with performances like Tuesday’s, that’s not a bad thing.