Just over a year ago, in November 2018, Rob Holding was in great form for Arsenal and was even talking about getting an England call up. “I think this is my best run in an Arsenal shirt,” Holding said in the Standard. “Consistency-wise, it’s been 12 games consistently playing to a good level, not playing because someone is injured but on merit. That gives you more confidence.
“Gareth Southgate has brought a refreshed feeling to England with a lot of young lads. If you’re playing well in the Premier League week in, week out, as we saw with Callum Wilson and Lewis Dunk, you’re going to get chances.
“You want to be a part of what they are creating at the moment. Obviously what they did at the World Cup and there is the Euros in over a year’s time. It’s a great time to be involved with England so why wouldn’t you want to be.”
Then, just two weeks later, the curse struck and he went down with an injury that knocked him out cold for almost a year.
Since then, Arsenal have turned to the likes of Sokratis, Chambers and David Luiz in central defence. They have also brought in Pablo Mari and William Saliba. Holding has been nudged down the pecking order behind Luiz, Chambers (when fit) and William Saliba prospectively.
While this is still a situation the 23-year-old can look at without fear, Arsenal are being strongly linked to Dayot Upamencano of Leipzig. If the transfer were to go through, this would be devastating news for Holding. Banning injuries, Holding could find himself behind 4 players in Luiz, Saliba, Upamencano and Chambers by June.
If his ambitions are to establish himself as a starting defender for Arsenal, then he must start staking a claim for it right now and right here.
Will he ever reach those heights again?