The English defender was on the verge of leaving the club but he has become a key player for Arteta's team in the recent weeks.
was heavily linked toNewcastle
in the summer transfer window but
blocked the move as he found Holding to be necessary for his team’s defense. The 25-year-old has made 18 appearances for the Gunners this season and has started 13 of Arsenal’s 17 league games. His partnership withPablo Mari
in the team’s central defense has secured consecutive clean sheets for the first time in Arsenal's current campaign. Speaking ahead of his team’s Saturday match against New Castle, Arteta has praised the player for his resurgence after his knee injury last season which kept him on the sidelines for nearly 10 months.
“He had a period when he did not play and then he played against Leeds at home (an FA Cup match in January 2020),“ said the Arsenal boss.
“When you compare how he has evolved from then to now, in a year’s time, it is incredible.
“It is down to him, how professional he is, how much he wants to learn, how much he puts into every training session and then his character and his personality.
“He is growing in every aspect. I am really happy with him.
“It is true that in the summer he came to me because we had a large amount of central defenders and he was not sure about how many minutes he was going to have.
“We stopped him going anywhere because we knew he was going to be an important player for us.”
In his team’s match againstEverton
before Christmas, Arteta handed Arsenal’s captain armband to Holding which was another indicator of how highly he rates the defender.
“It is what I see on a daily basis with him and the room that he still has for improvement at his age,
“I really like what I see and he has earned that right himself.
“It is true there have been many other conditions for him to play that many minutes because we have injuries, we have other issues, but he has earned that right.
“Nobody can question that when he has played, he has performed really well.”