Arsene Wenger overlooked Rob Holding for a starting spot in yesterday’s FA Cup tie with Preston North End, which came as a huge surprise for me, and I’m sure many others.
The 21 year-old joined the club from Bolton in the summer for a reported £2.5 Million, and ended up starting the Premier League season in the starting line-up following a number of absences.
Holding has since lost his first-team role thanks to the signing of Shkodran Mustafi and the return from injury of Gabriel Paulista, but the youngster was still expected to start in the cup, in my opinion at least.
Holding did extremely well when playing alongside Laurent Koscielny against Leicester City before Mustafi joined the club, and he had looked like a youngster who was mature beyond his years.
I was disappointed for him not to get another chance to showcase his talents, while getting more match experience within our side, and coming off the bench well into injury-time is hardly going to help him.
Ashley Maitland-Niles was the only inexperienced player to get the chance yesterday, although it was later revealed that Hector Bellerin had fallen foul of injury, and he may well have been promoted to play regardless of the opposition.
I’m not sure whether Holding’s snub was a statement on his inexperience, or whether Wenger had other intentions. I believe that yesterday was the first time that Gabriel Paulista and Shkodran Mustafi had started a match together at centre-back, which may well have been an experiment.
The French boss may have been trying to build the communication and understanding between the pair, just in case we were to lose Kosc to absence for any reason during the campaign, but I would still have liked to see Holding at least given 30 minutes, although the result was not going our way, and Wenger may have been forced to concentrate on winning the match.
Has Holding gone backwards this term? Do you think he’d of come on earlier if we were winning the match?