Arsenal have received a key injury boost with Rob Holding featuring for the club’s Under-23s following an extended lay-off after an anterior cruciate ligament damage in his left knee.
The 23-year-old picked up the long-term injury during the 2-2 Premier League draw against Manchester United in December last year and a surgery thereafter meant that he was sidelined for the rest of the 2018/19 season.
Gunners boss Unai Emery has so far provided no return date for the former England youth international, but it appears that the defender is closing on a first-team comeback after getting on the field on Saturday.
The centre-back featured for 60 minutes during the Arsenal Under 23s’ 6-1 win over Watford XI and that is surely a pleasant sight, considering the speculation surrounding the futures of Laurent Koscielny and Shkodran Mustafi.
At present, the Gunners are unlikely to risk Holding after a long-term setback and he may require another few more games with the reserves to build up his fitness before returning to first-team action.
As such, a comeback to Emery’s side could be delayed until after the first international break of the season where the club are scheduled to face Watford in the Premier League on the road.
Meanwhile, there are just five more days remaining in the transfer window and the Gunners’ focus could lie on strengthening the central defence, which has been the main point of weakness in recent years.
So far, the problem has not been addressed, but there should be some activity with club-captain Koscielny in particular determined to make the move away from the Emirates Stadium this summer.
Arsenal have already landed one central defender in the form of William Saliba from Saint-Etienne but the teenager has been loaned back to the French outfit for the forthcoming campaign.