Date of birth: 20th September 1995 (age 21)
Club: Arsenal F.C.
Jersey Number: 16
“When you look at people who are successful, you will find that they aren’t people who are motivated, but have consistency in their motivation”
– Arsene Wenger
Rob Holding began his career at the age of 7 with the Bolton Wanderers, in Greater Manchester. After making his way up from the youth ranks at the club, he joined the League Two Bury in March 2015. He scored his first goal against Milton Keynes Dons in January 2016, and was voted as Bolton Wanderer’s Player of the Season.
Soon later, Holding joined Arsenal F.C. for a minimal fee. He made his debut in the 2016-17 Premier League season in place of one of the two injured defenders. During the same year, Holding made his UEFA debut in a match where Arsenal won 4-1. Holding became a consistent member of the first 11 for the last few months of the season. He played the full 90 minutes in one of the most important matches that season, which Arsenal won: the FA Cup finals.
On 15th May 2016, Holding was called up the England under-21 team to play the Toulon Tournament as a replacement for Everton defender, Brendan Galloway. England went on to win this tournament with Holding making 2 appearances. He was a part of England’s squad for the 2017 European under-21 Championship, in Poland.
For a long time, the centre-back position has been an Achilles’ heel for Arsenal, costing them points and sometimes trophies. Rob Holding has ended this era with his exceptional performance for Arsenal. He has become a sort of ‘legend’ in the eyes of Arsenal fans, especially after his performance in the FA Cup finals. After seeing his talent, spectators think that this young soccer player has immense potential.
Rob Holding’s primary strength is his ability to intercept passes and shots. He predicts the striker’s moves and acts on their weaknesses. He is also very good in the air and has no trouble in heading the ball away from his goal. Holding is also commended for the astounding accuracy of his passes. Rob Holding, unlike other defenders, has very good control of the ball and can keep it in his possession for a long period of time. Holding is also very handy in the opponent’s goal area as he causes a nuisance for the opposing defenders.
Arsenal legend Ian Wright is adamant that youngster, Rob Holding is better than Shkodran Mustafi, and should be first-choice in the Gunners defence. Many people associate good players with the number of zeros on their transfer fee. Rob Holding is the perfect example of a player who was bought at a small price, but has made a huge difference to his club. I believe that this rising star has a long way to go and will definitely help Arsenal bag more trophies.