Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has admitted that he was encouraged by Granit Xhaka’s debut while confessing his shock at the performance of Rob Holding.
The north London side played their second fixture of their summer pre-season schedule on Thursday evening, beating Major League Soccer’s All-Stars by two goals to one, with Didier Drogba cancelling out Joel Campbell’s early penalty, only for Chuba Akpom to score the winner in the 87th minute after good work from both Chris Willock and Nacho Monreal.
While Holding played the entire 90 minutes and did not look out-of-place despite having played in the Championship last season, Xhaka featured for 45 minutes and looked tidy in possession.
Speaking to the media after the game, Wenger admitted that he was pleased by the efforts of his two debutants.
“He [Xhaka] did adjust very well. His passing was clean and technically he did well. Overall I believe his first game was encouraging.
“He [Holding] has adapted surprisingly in a very good way. He reads the game well and understands what’s going on. He anticipates well and that’s a quality, at such a young age, that you don’t find a lot.”
Holding will look to tie down a place in the Arsenal first-team this season after joining a couple of weeks ago, with the injury to Per Mertesacker providing him with an opportunity of regular football.
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