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Roy Keane has harsh words for Arsenal defender

Roy Keane on Rob Holding: “I think he’s short at the highest level.”

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Gabriel and Rob Holding
Image Credit: Getty Images

Former Manchester United player, Roy Keane had his say on one Arsenal defender after the Gunners failed to hold on to a 2-0 lead at Anfield on Sunday.

The Sky Sports pundit was not impressed with Rob Holding’s performance at Anfield on Sunday, with the English centre back having started the last three games for Arsenal in William Saliba’s absence.

William Saliba and Gabriel Magalhaes have been Arsenal’s main centre back pairing for the majority of the season and their partnership at the back is a big reason why the Gunners find themselves top of the Premier League table. They’ve formed a really impressive connection in their first season together for Mikel Arteta’s side.

The pair have attempted 57 tackles this season, with 43 being successful, giving the pair a very impressive 75% tackle success rate.

While they do have competition in new January signing, Jakub Kiwior, he’s still fairly young and needs time to get used to Mikel Arteta’s system – reason why he’s yet to start a Premier League game for the Gunners.

Therefore, Arteta’s next best option is Rob Holding.  His impact in the Arsenal squad is a bit unusual, yet vital. He has recently built up the reputation for being the ‘end game’, however now he’s needed for more than just that.

Whenever Mikel Arteta wants to see off a game, he brings on Holding for one of his attacking player. After that Holding makes his infamous gesture; the 5 fingers, indicating a 5 at the back formation; and this has often meant that Arsenal will shut up shop and see out the victory.

Roy Keane gave his verdict on Rob Holding via Sky Sports at Anfield on Sunday:

“He doesn’t play regularly and there’s a reason for that. There’s obviously better players in his position at the club.

I’m not his biggest fan, I have to say he’s a good pro. I worry that at this level, his real lack of pace and I think sometimes he gets too tight to people, so if you’re Liverpool you will be looking at that as an area that they Arsenal are vulnerable.

Especially on the turn, he’s very, very slow. Good honest player and he’ll attack it, but in terms of quick play in and around his feet, I think he’s short at the highest level.”

Writer’s opinion

Rob Holding has been a player at Arsenal since 2016. He has never fully made it onto the starting 11 but has proved to be a vital squad option, especially in the Arteta era. After taking over the centre-back role from an injured William Saliba, Holding has been doing a fairly decent job, especially in the games against Crystal Palace & Leeds United.

Arteta mostly uses him to see games off if they are leading and are in no need for a goal but to hold on to their lead. Despite the axing of many players such as Sokratis, Mustafi, Kolasinac, etc. Holding has stayed on. This is mainly due to his incredible character.

Holding is a player who is determined to improve and helps the people around him do well. This is precisely why if he had to leave Arsenal, there would be yet another gap to be filled.

Rob Holding has been performing his duties and I have absolutely no complaints as of now.

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