Upson backs Holding for big Arsenal future
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Former Gunners centre-back impressed with young defender
Former Arsenal defender Matty Upson believes Rob Holding could develop into a leading figure and possible future captain at the club.
Now 38, Upson joined the Gunners from Luton in a £2million deal in 1997 and went on to win a Premier League winner’s medal in 2002.
And he was also capped 21 times by England, scoring against Germany in the 2010 World Cup while at West Ham, before finishing his playing career with MK Dons in 2016.
Upson has been impressed by the form of fellow centre-back Holding in recent weeks, with the 21-year-old having now made a total 14 appearances for Arsene Wenger’s side, helping them reach the FA Cup final and keep their top-four hopes alive.
And he feels he could have a big role to play at the Emirates going forward, saying: “From what I’ve seen so far, I don’t think that’s unreasonable to think.
“He could certainly benefit from more game time, that’s clear, but looking at the position he’s in and how he’s done, he has given himself a great opportunity to be given a place in the starting XI.
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“Based on his character and how he plays, I think it’s important for Arsenal to keep him for the foreseeable future – he’s totally committed, calm and reassuring.”
Arsenal travel to Stoke for a Saturday evening game this weekend, lying just three points behind fourth-placed Manchester City following their midweek win at Southampton.
But Upton feels their focus should be on winning more silverware at Wembley Stadium later this month, when they take on Chelsea in the FA Cup final on May 27.
He added: “At the moment, from an Arsenal perspective, I’d rather see them win the FA Cup. You always want to see a club win trophies and the FA Cup is still a massive trophy for me.
“Many will rightfully reference Arsene’s achievement on so many years of Champions League qualification, but there are potential short-term positives should the club fail to make Champions League football this season.
“It will give them time to step away from the intensity that the competition brings and they can focus on getting themselves back on track in the League. Look at Chelsea – you can turn no Champions League football into a positive.”