Rob Holding Must be Appreciated
“I am sorry he doesn’t cost 50 million,” goes the famous line from Arsene Wenger. Rob Holding, a two million punt from Bolton under the recommendation of Steve Bould, has been mocked by many as an example of the lack of defensive quality at Arsenal football club. “How can you employ Luiz, Mustafi and Holding as your centrebacks?” they say. “Spend some money and get in someone with quality like Maguire.”
While Maguire is a good defender, so is Rob Holding, and he has been the centerpiece of the second-best defense in the Premier League this season. How about that, huh?
Defending, ultimately, requires quality, especially in modern teams that attack aggressively. However, it is still significantly a unit job, the work of an entire team. A defender need only be ‘good enough’ to function as part of the unit.
That is exactly what Rob Holding is. He is not an athletic freak, though he isn’t weak at all either. He is not best technically and neither is he some genius defender. But he can surely tackle, track, organize, communicate, head a ball, pass the ball and bully the opponent. It is these attributes, unspectacular though they are, that have come together to make a good defender out of the boy from Bolton. Decent yet effective. The basics are done well and, sometimes, that is enough.
Rob Holding has gone on up to another level this season under Arteta. His ball-playing has improved very much. His actions are cleaner. He does not make errors of judgment. He is basically the prototypical defender, something out of a textbook, something alright. Maybe Arsenal should be starting a more exceptional defender. Maybe he should only be a substitute for a more experienced option. Maybe. However, Rob Holding is playing very well and is deserving of some real appreciation for it.