Rob Holding didn’t feature much under Mikel Arteta pre-pandemic, but this was for fitness reasons more than anything else, according to a report.

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 24: Rob Holding of Arsenal scores the second goal during the Carabao Cup Third Round match between Arsenal and Nottingham Forest at Emirates Stadium on September 24, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND: Rob Holding of Arsenal scores their second goal on September 24, 2019. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Football.London report that Holding barely featuring under Arteta is ‘mainly’ to ease him back to full fitness. Given the length of his absence with a knee injury and a hamstring problem, Arsenal clearly don’t want to rush him back.

Holding initially started to make Arteta’s squads from January 1st, against Manchester United. He made the bench for that game, before starting in the 1-0 win over Leeds United. The centre-back didn’t feature as much after that, though.

Arteta gave the 24-year-old a couple more substitute appearances, against Bournemouth and Chelsea, but only when absolutely necessary.

Despite Arsenal’s first-half red card to a centre-back at Stamford Bridge, Holding only came on with nine minutes to go. He also only played the final 28 minutes at the Vitality Stadium after Shkodran Mustafi’s knock.

As for the Premier League, Holding didn’t make another squad after that Chelsea game. Instead, he dropped down and played a couple of matches with the u23s. It’s good news for Holding fans that this wasn’t to do with a falling out with the coach.

By now, most football fans should be aware of how long it takes to fully recover from an ACL injury. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain didn’t start three consecutive league games for Liverpool until almost two years after his injury, and he’s only played 90 minutes once.

That’s just how it goes. Hopefully, we see Holding back on form in the near future.