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Arsenal star Holding enjoys a dream return

Defender’s joy as he nets in comeback

26 September, 2019 — By Steve Barnett

ROB Holding says he was “over the moon” after making a “dream comeback” for Arsenal this week.

In fairytale fashion, the tough-tackling centre-back marked his return from a 10-month injury lay-off by getting on the scoresheet as the Gunners routed Nottingham Forest 5-0 in the Carabao Cup on Tuesday night.

To make the occasion even more special, he scored just seconds after taking the skipper’s armband from the substituted Mesut Ozil at the Emirates Stadium.

“It was the dream comeback. My first touch as the captain – I couldn’t have written it any better myself,” said Holding.

“The way it panned out was just brilliant.

“When I got told I was vice-captain I was over the moon, so when Mesut came off and passed the armband over I was so happy. Then it went perfectly again, Reiss [Nelson[ put a great ball in and I managed to get my head on it.”

League Cup nights are easily overlooked by Premier League clubs, especially those that compete in Europe and are vying for a top-four finish.

Tuesday night, however, could prove a turning point in Arsenal’s season.

Holding managed to get 90 minutes under his belt following his knee injury, while Kieran Tierney made his long-waited debut following his summer move from Celtic after recovering from a groin injury.

Hector Bellerin also received a standing ovation from the home faithful when he came on to replace Tierney in the 77th minute – his first appearance in nine months following a knee injury. Bellerin made an immediate impact as he laid on a goal for Joe Willock, but Arsenal head coach Unai Emery isn’t getting carried away as he switches his attentions to Monday night’s Premier League game at Manchester United.

Asked if Bellerin could start at Old Trafford, Emery replied: “I think no. Maybe in his mind yes, but we need to listen to the doctor and the doctor wants to do it progressively. We are going to maybe share some minutes with the Under-23s.

“It depends how he’s feeling, but in his mind he’s feeling very well and I think the first minutes on Tuesday night were amazing for him.

“The most important things about Hector are his attitude and experience. He always wants to play, and always wishing to help us.

“Even when he was injured he was still a big mentality in the dressing room helping us.”

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