Unai Emery reveals Rob Holding chat about Arsenal future over captaincy group snub

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Arsenal boss Unai Emery appointed Granit Xhaka as the club’s captain in the week.

Arsenal manager Unai Emery has spoken about his decision not to include any English players in his new group of club captains named earlier this week.

Emery appointed Granit Xhaka as the Gunners’ main captain but also picked out Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette, Hector Bellerin and Mesut Ozil as back-up skippers.

Some supporters were surprised that a player like Holding, nor any centre-backs for that matter, were selected.

Bellerin has been out with a knee injury since January while Ozil has been in and out of Emery’s starting XI.

But the Spaniard has defended his decision and admitted that he spoke with Holding about his future with the club.

“I spoke with Holding about that. For me, he’s a very important player in the dressing room,” he said.

“His behaviour and commitment are those of a captain, although he’s not in the five.

“But he’s going to progress and he will achieve to be in that five.”

Emery justified his decision to include Bellerin in his five captains because he came to Arsenal as a youngster and has settled into English culture very well since, even adopting a cockney accent.

“Bellerin is Spanish but he came here very young,” he added.

“He’s very deep on English culture and speaks English maybe better than a lot of English people.

“And really in the dressing room, Hector transmits a lot of values, a lot of things in English culture and values as a professional.

“I usually speak with him in Spanish, but I’m going to change. Maybe next month I will speak with him in English and maybe I can learn with him.”

Holding joined Arsenal from Bolton in 2016 for a snippet price of £2million.

The defender won the FA Cup for the Gunners in his first season but his time in north London has been marred by injury at times.

Emery will hope his return can bolster a defence that has leaked 10 goals in its first six league games this season.

Holding could start tonight at Old Trafford (8pm) as Arsenal seek a first win away at Manchester United in the league since 2006.


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