Arsenal defender Rob Holding on learning to be a leader at Bolton Wanderers

Arsenal defender Rob Holding says his leadership qualities began during his time as a youngster at Wanderers.

The defender joined the Whites’ youth ranks at the age of seven, rising through the Academy with the likes of Josh Vela and Zach Clough.

He made 30 first-team appearances for the club in total, scoring once, before making the move to the Emirates.

“It’s followed me around from when I was at Bolton, really,” he told The Athletic. “Through the age groups, I was always a captain of the team.

“It’s been a blessing and sometimes been a curse — you’re sort of expected to be the one that steps up, even though you’ve not been chosen to be the one.

“It means setting the standards, doing things right — don’t be doing anything stupid, messing up or being late. It’s just simple stuff.

“It should just be a given. That’s how I was brought up by my dad. He was a stickler for rules and that rubbed off on me.

“I always end up being one of the guys to help people learn and develop. You want a guy that’s going to help people and bring them forward, rather than hold them back.”

The 26-year-old has made more than 130 appearances for the Gunners so far, becoming an important member of Mikel Arteta’s squad last season.

“We are quite a young team. We have a couple of senior roles – guys like me, Granit Xhaka, Thomas Partey, Mohamed Elneny, Cedric.

“We’ve all got a bit of age and a bit of experience, but we’ve also got the young enthusiasm and energy, which I think makes for a really good balance right now,” he added.

“The best thing about this trip has been the team’s togetherness. I saw it towards the end of the season last year, and it’s carried on as we left off. Everyone’s together and all on the same wavelength, which is good.”

“I love my time here. I love the staff and the players that we work with. There’s no one that I couldn’t sit in a room and chat with for 10-20 minutes. Everyone’s easy and approachable.”

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