Is it time for Rob Holding to get an England call-up?

How Close is Holding to An England Call Up? by Dan Smith

There were a few raised eyebrows when Unai Emery allowed Calum Chambers to leave on loan. Even if designed for the players development, the assumption was that he was ahead of Rob Holding in the pecking order. Yet as Chambers is having a nightmare at Fulham, Holding is on a run of four consecutive starts.

It’s no coincidence his best form came when he got a run in the side at the end of his debut campaign, making him an unlikely hero in the FA Cup Final, that performance alone recouping the one million we paid Bolton. At a time when Gareth Southgate has been open to giving caps to youth, he’s so far ignored the youngsters breaking through at the Emirates. Holding wasn’t helped by only playing in the odd cup tie last year, his confidence shaken by the lack of leadership in the dressing room.

Yet our national boss continues to contradict his criteria for selection, not picking one of the few options who experiences European football but then choosing someone from the Championship. In his last squad he preferred Nathaniel Chalobah to Holding, despite the on-loan Chelsea defender yet to start in the League for the Hornets. Since coming on at Everton, Holding has helped us to 3 straight clean sheets yet someone who can’t get a game for Watford is deemed a better solution? It could just be Holding doesn’t have the attributes Southgate wants from one of his centre backs.

Despite playing every week for Man United, the door has been closed on Chris Smalling due to the belief he’s not comfortable with the ball at his feet. Is that the perception of Holding? If it is, he’s working with the right manager in terms of learning how to build attacks from the back, a principle Emery is trying to instil at the Emirates. From a defensive point of view, I have no concerns and feel he can grow into a leader the more he lines up alongside an experienced partner.

He wasn’t perfect on Monday Night, another time we would have spoken about him conceding a penalty and getting sent off. Yet he’s at an age where inconsistency is standard, no different to a John Stones. The aspect to take away from Leicester, is after a wobbly start he didn’t let his self-belief crumble. Showing perhaps he’s mentally tougher than last season?

How near is he to the England Squad?

Dan Smith


  1. SAGunner says:

    Holding is at best a second league player… what holding are you watching?

    1. Jay says:

      What are u talking about? Holding is far better than even mustafi. I wonder why Emery hasn’t started both holding and sokratis together.dont u see how confident he is on the ball? He moved the ball better and even dribbles and doesn’t keep the keeper under unnecessary pressure like mustafi and sokratis does. Since holding started playing,no team has pressed us hard in making the commit any error. He pushes oppositions back with his positioning when the ball is at Leno’s feet.

      1. kev says:

        He’s just another typical normal modern day CB.He’s very good with the ball at his feet as you say but what about defending?If we are being honest he’s being overrated and is not that good of a defender.He was way way overrated in his first.I remember how Diego Costa turned him several times in the FA Cup final and even for their goal yet we were told he kept him in his back pocket.You might doubt me but please research that match.Mertesacker was the real star in that match.The only players who have proven themselves to be good Arsenal CB’s are Koscielny and Sokratis.

    2. gotanidea says:

      Disagree. I think Holding is a strong candidate for one of England’s main CBs now, because he is one of the reasons that made Arsenal won ten times consecutively

      He is good with his feet, fast and more dominant in the air than Mustafi/ Sokratis/ Koscielny. But sometimes he made silly mistakes, like his alledgedly deliberate handball against Leicester

      Glad to see English players like him make a decent run in the first team, because Arsenal need more of them. I hope Chambers could return and become Arsenal’s DM

      1. Sarmmie says:

        The only area I’ll pick him over koscielny and sokratis is the aspect of being good with his feet
        Gotanidea, pls endeavor to watch the game more before you analyse, that was how you selected welbeck over auba cos you think welbeck works harder, welbeck that only scores the goals even a goalkeeper would score

        1. gotanidea says:

          Never said Welbeck worked harder than Aubameyang, but I said Welbeck seems to be a better tandem for Lacazette

          We could question Welbeck’s finishing and his abilities as a striker, but we cannot deny the fact that Welbeck is a team player and he swapped positions with the other attackers nicely at Fulham

          As a comparison, we could also question why Deschamps selected Giroud instead of Lacazette for the World Cup. But in my opinion, France would not be able to win the World Cup without Giroud, despite his shot on target statistics in that competition are lousy

          1. Kenny Rolfe says:

            So why did you pick Welbeck in front Aubameyang if it wasn’t work rate. Ridiculous comment.

      2. MAURICE says:

        People seem to forget Torreira in these defensive moments. The guys covers central defenders very well. Even though others look good too, see a situation where they will be exposed from a Torreiraless Arsenal.

  2. Sue says:

    Good luck to him if he does.. England ?????

  3. Adrian says:

    you must be scraping the barrel if you think Rob Holding is England material. if arsenal ever invested in a decent centre half, Rob would be out the door to a middle ranking premier league side at best.

    1. gotanidea says:

      Maybe, if Holding cannot complete his development at Arsenal when the new CB comes

      But if he can keep performing well and bringing victories for Arsenal in another ten EPL games, I believe he would be the other top clubs’ hot target

      1. kev says:

        He’s not good enough and even though I don’t like Mustafi I have my doubts as to whether he’s better when both are in form.Luckily for us Unai Emery is actually a semi defensive minded coach so our CB’s won’t be too exposed.

        1. Midkemma says:

          I thought we had that signing in the bag and he was going to be the next big thing?

          Yet it is Holding who is playing games for a team challenging for the top 4 currently.

          You can claim Holding isn’t good enough, we all know your claims… We should have a different starting 11 according to what you have proclaimed in the past.

          I shall point to the times you got it badly wrong and use that as a reason not to pay attention to your slander of Holding. You GUESS. You do not know. You make guesses.

          Holding could work hard and be like Iwobi, converting supporters by performing at a respectable level. Iwobi has had a couple dodgy games since Emery took over, Holding is allowed a couple poor games in his development.

          I wonder if Holding will earn a nickname for being poor, something like a Donkey… (Now I know the people who remember Adams being called this will have a little chuckle 😛 lol)

          I am not saying Holding will turn out like Adams, I am pointing out though that many people who thought they knew something was claiming Adams wouldn’t make it yet he became one of the best CBs this country has ever witnessed.

          Emery needs time and he needs to be given the chance to prove doubters wrong, how about you give him that chance and stop being a monkey on Holdings back? Lay off the lad and support…

          Novel idea isn’t it? Supporters supporting… Too outlandish to happen and we will read about how Laca thinks we are more like spectators than supporters… Too late XD

    2. Midkemma says:

      You a top scout?
      Who do you work for?
      Can you get me to come along to some of the games you scout, I’d like to learn the trade…

      Funny how Emery chose Holding to stay while Chambers went out and now I am reading Arsenal fans thinking they know better somehow…

      Prove it. Go manage a top team.

      At least with Wenger we had years of failure to at least support the supporters frustrations/questions but Emery has come in and the only games he has lost was the harsh opening couple.

      Supporters support.
      You are not supporting.

      To top it off, you forgot to acknowledge that the article talks about other CBs and questions if they are better than Holding and if Holding should be ahead of them and starting, not if Holding will become Englands greatest ever CB and stay in the team for decades… Looking at who Southgate gives chances to then isn’t it time for Holding?????

  4. AndersS says:

    I don’t know if Holding should be in the England team.
    But I wish we had better centrebacks at Arsenal. We need one or maybe even 2 new really strong CB. Holding is not the solution, if we want to reach the top again.

    1. gotanidea says:

      I hope they can bring Koulibaly in

      1. Sal says:

        yeah monster probably top 5 cb at the moment reminds me VVD, i think we bought almiron for january as well so ramsey is definetly a gooner 😉

  5. Break-on-through says:

    The lad has done well to come in and try to adapt to the new football being played. All our players are having to adapt, he is not a full international player like some of the others, but has he done any worse than them. The chances against came down, the goals against came down, it is a process so we shouldn’t be expecting him to play as well as some of the others, yet he has. The game time is important as we know, to young players more so than experienced. He has his chance to impress and I for one hope he grabs it with both arms.

  6. Kenny Rolfe says:

    Holding has improved tremendously, the only problem is, he doesn’t play for the Spuds.

    1. Sue says:

      Nice one Kenny ?

  7. Midkemma says:

    I like how people have written Holding off already.
    People was writing Iwobi off but now look at him.

    Trust in Emery over your own delusion to think you know more about football than our Manager. Not like he has failed for years already and warrants the questions.

  8. Grandad says:

    Holding is an improving young centre back who will develop further under Emery and become an Arsenal regular. In terms of an England call up however he is a good bit behind the likes of Maguire, Stones and Gomez who may turn out to be one of the best centre backs in Europe.If only England had the same quality in midfield they might become potential World Cup winners.As far as Mustafi is concerned he will never be a solution to Arsenal’s defensive problems.

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