An Arsenal star playing a vital role in the current campaign has revealed the man management deployed by Mikel Arteta that averted his loan exit to Newcastle in the summer.
Arsenal have shown signs of recovery in recent weeks after a dreadful beginning to their season.
Emile Smith Rowe has breathed new life into their attacking play. Elsewhere, their defence recently notched back-to-back clean sheets in the league for the first time all season.
A key performer throughout the campaign has been the formerly out of favour centre-half Rob Holding.
The 25-year-old’s chances of gametime appeared limited after the permanent summer arrivals of Pablo Mari and Gabriel Magalhaes.
However, amid injuries and poor form elsewhere, Holding has grasped the opportunities he has been given with both hands.
The story could’ve been an altogether different one had Newcastle’s loan approach been accepted in the summer.
That potential move was averted late by Arteta, with Holding recently detailing how it all unfolded.
Arteta role revealed
“At 25, I have to focus on playing. I spoke to the manager and said there was a loan opportunity that had come up, that I needed football.
“After my injury [a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament in December 2018] I needed a year to play.
“It was all agreed, and the club thought it would be the best move for me, but in the week before the Community Shield against Liverpool, [head coach Mikel Arteta] pulled me aside and said he wanted to check that I was focused for the weekend because I was needed.
“I told him that, wherever I am, I will always play my hardest and put 100 per cent in.
“I played the game, we did well and we won, and then on the Monday, he called me into his office.
“He said it made no sense to let me go if my end goal was to play here. He was saying I was going to play, that it was my shirt to lose. That was the confidence he put in me.”