'I'm down to earth… but I hate losing'

Granit Xhaka and Shkodran Mustafi earned the most column inches when they joined us last year, but another of our summer signings could take centre stage this weekend.

Rob Holding’s move to north London flew under the radar a bit, and understandably so - he’s very much one for the future.

But the former Bolton defender is quickly learning his trade on the training pitches at London Colney and has been accomplished at the back whenever he’s played.

Holding could start his first FA Cup tie for us at Preston this weekend but, while his profile grows, the 21-year-old remains grounded.

“I wouldn’t say I’ve changed much, I’m pretty much the same down-to-earth lad who has lived at home, moved and got on with the lads straight away,” he told Arsenal Player. “So it wasn’t like I had to change, everybody accepted me for who I am.

“My dad keeps me grounded. My dad definitely won’t let me get carried away with anything. If I did he’d give me a little clip round the ear or something.

“My dad and the rest of my family keeps me grounded and my dad’s definitely been a big influence. He took me everywhere that I needed to go and he watches every game. He’ll be there with my granddad in the Arsenal end at Preston with two of my mates, so they’ll look forward to that.”

Holding has been learning from the best over the last six months, from Arsene Wenger and Steve Bould to a battery of international centre backs. The main lesson: raising his aggression level.

“I think that’s about demanding, demanding what you want in training,” said Holding. “If you’re just happy to accept what’s going on around you, maybe you don’t see that fight.

“But if you want to be a winner, if you’re in a small-sided game and you’re demanding stuff off your team-mates to work that extra bit, to score that extra goal, I think that’s what the boss is saying.

“I just don’t like losing. I hate losing and I used to hate losing as a kid. Me and my cousin are similar ages and I think our parents played us off against each other a bit at times. We were always ultra-competitive and wanted to win in what we were doing.

“There were many times where I have been playing my Xbox and I’ve been getting beat and I’ve just turned it off and stormed off! It’s just the competitive side coming out in you.”


More quizzes to follow soon!

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