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'He's proved Arteta right': Merson thinks £40k-a-week Arsenal player has really stepped up this season

Arsenal legend Paul Merson has praised Gunners defender Rob Holding in his latest Daily Star column.

The 26-year-old isn’t a regular starter for Mikel Arteta’s side, but he has really stepped up when called upon.

Arsenal have brought Holding on in a number of crucial games this season to help them see out matches.

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Arteta subbed him on in the League Cup semi-final first leg and helped Arsenal see out a 0-0 draw.

This was despite the Gunners being down to ten men after Granit Xhaka’s red card.

Holding also helped Arsenal beat Wolves 1-0 at Molineux in February, a game in which Gabriel Martinelli saw red.

And last time out, the £2million man made the Gunners’ starting XI after Ben White suffered a hamstring injury.

Holding rewarded his manager’s faith by opening the scoring in the game en route to a 2-1 win.

In 2020, the centre-back came close to joining Newcastle on loan, but Arteta blocked the move.

“I said to him change your mind because you’re not going anywhere,” said the Arsenal boss, as per Chronicle Live.

“Doesn’t seem like the type to moan”

In his latest column, Merson called Holding a “reliable” defender and praised Arteta for not letting him leave.

He also said he couldn’t see the £40,000-a-week defender leaving Arsenal for more minutes.

“Holding came in and did a great job for them against West Ham, and I think he’s a reliable defender,” wrote Merson.

“I remember when he was close to joining Newcastle but he’s proved Arteta right for blocking that move.

“And (he) doesn’t seem like the type to moan when he’s not starting every week.

“I can’t see him leaving for more minutes.

“If Arsenal qualify for the Champions League, why would you? It’s a great club. A Rolls Royce.

“And Arsenal have every chance of finishing in the top four. I expect them to beat Leeds this weekend.”

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