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Arsenal defender Rob Holding has warned Laurent Koscielny and Shkodran Mustafi that he’s after their spot in the starting XI.
Having impressed in the final months of last season, most notably in the FA Cup final against Chelsea, the young defender has struggled to replicate that kind of form this term.
After starting the season in defence against Leicester City, Holding was absent from the defeat at Stoke before his confidence was knocked even more in the 4-0 defeat at Liverpool.
Making only his sixth league appearance since the end of August against Watford last time out, Holding caught the eye with a mature display against Troy Deeney in Koscielny’s absence.
Although the Frenchman is expected to return for next weekend’s clash against Stoke City, the former Bolton defender has made it clear that he wants to be back in the team on a regular basis.
“I’d say the first half of the season was a bit in and out, with the cup competitions, and then since late January it’s been a real knuckle down, cracking on with it and doing what I need to do,” Holding told Sport360.
“The manager’s noticing it and against Watford I felt like I had a really good, solid game.
“He knows that I’m there, pushing, and any little mistakes from Koscielny and Mustafi or slight injuries, I want to be the first one that he’s looking to.
“I think I’ve improved on things like heading, defending crosses, things like that and being more physical.
“I had Troy Deeney (against Watford), I knew he’d be more of a physical presence. I tried to be smarter as well, I didn’t try and fight with him as he’s a bigger guy anyway!”