Holding on Bolton Beginnings, Bury Loan and Arsenal Move

  • November 28, 2018 | By Chris Mann
  • URL Short URL: http://b-ac.es/8d36e

Rob Holding has spoken of his earliest memory at Bolton Wanderers, and how he progressed from a loan spell at Bury to first-team regular at Arsenal.

Holding, who joined Wanderers as an eight-year-old, progressed through the youth system at the University of Bolton Stadium before making his debut in a Capital One Cup defeat to Burton Albion in August 2015.

After one solitary campaign at senior level, in which the Trotters were relegated to League One, the now 23-year-old moved to the Emirates Stadium for an initial fee of £2.5million but he remains humble to his beginnings and how he was mesmerised by then manager Sam Allardyce as a child.

"I met Sam Allardyce for the first time when I signed as an eight-year-old," Holding told Sky Sports.

"He came and welcomed us all to the club. I just remember shaking his hand - it was the biggest hand I'd ever shaken and I was like 'where has my hand gone?'. That's my first memory of him."

Holding's rise to the Premier League wasn't all plain sailing, however, with a two-month loan stint at Bury providing him with just 11 minutes of substitute action at the back end of the 2014/15 campaign.

"The whole Bury loan was just to be around the first-team environment and how to act around senior pros," he said.

"It prepared me for going back to a new season with Bolton, where I was straight up with the team and playing.

"I dropped out of the team and back to the under-23's, where I worked hard and broke into the team.

"Playing right-back was the only way I was getting in the team. David Wheater went off with his hamstring away at Nottingham Forest and I had to move to centre-half, which was back at home and where I felt comfortable."

After 30 appearances in a Bolton shirt, Holding remembers the day he was informed of interest from the Gunners. He recalls his ignorance in not understanding the legendary status of Steve Bould, before revealing Jimmy Phillips - in caretaker charge following the departure of Neil Lennon - withdrew him from the squad ahead of what would have been his last game in a Trotters shirt.

"David Lee pulled me to one side and said Steve Bould was watching," Holding added. "I didn't even know who he was!

"He (Lee) said he'd been talking to him and that they liked the look of me.

"Then our last game of the season - on the coach down to Fulham - caretaker manager Jimmy Phillips pulled me and said he'd had a phone call from the chairman and that I couldn't play because he didn't want me getting injured in the last game."

Since joining Arsenal in July 2016, Holding has gone on to make 57 appearances - scoring once - and has been tipped for inclusion in Gareth Southgate's England squad should his consistent form continue into 2019.

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Sky Bet League One Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
19 Rochdale 34 36
20 AFC Wimbledon 35 35
21 Tranmere Rovers 34 32
22 Southend United 35 19
23 Bolton Wanderers 34 14
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Poll

Who is Bolton's 2018/19 Player of the Year?
34.62% Gary O'Neil
19.38% David Wheater
18.92% Pawel Olkowski
9.27% Joe Williams
5.33% Jason Lowe
4.13% Sammy Ameobi
2.85% Josh Magennis
2.75% Mark Beevers
1.19% Jack Hobbs
1.01% Ben Alnwick
0.28% Andrew Taylor
0.28% Craig Noone