Holding describes Gunners’ return as ‘a dream’

Arsenal
Rob Holding said his goalscoring comeback for Arsenal in the Carabao Cup against Nottingham Forest was like "a dream".

Rob Holding said his goalscoring comeback for Arsenal in the Carabao Cup against Nottingham Forest was like “a dream”.

The 24-year-old central defender has spent the past nine months working his way back to full fitness after rupturing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee at Manchester United in December.

And boss Unai Emery opted to pitch Holding into the third-round tie against Forest from the start and he managed to play the entire 90 minutes with no problems.

The highlight for the stopper, though, was scoring with his first touch after taking the skipper’s armband from the substituted Mesut Ozil to put the Gunners’ two-up.

The north Londoners went on to defeat their Championship opponents 5-0 to set up a tough fourth-round tie against Liverpool at Anfield.

However, Holding was keen to discuss the “proud” moment that he put the ball into the back of the Forest net on Tuesday night.

He said: “The dream comeback really for me. My first touch as the captain – you can’t write that any better. It’s been a totally new experience. I’ve never experienced a long-term injury like that before.

“But credit to the club and the medical staff and the fitness people. They’ve put their arms around me and got me through it. It (the return) was a good experience and I was over the moon with it.”

In addition to Holding’s successful comeback, it was a triple boost for Emery as Hector Bellerin also returned from serious knee ligament damage, while £25million summer signing Kieran Tierney made an overdue debut after being sidelined by a groin problem.

All three could now come into contention to feature when Arsenal travel to Old Trafford to face Manchester United in the Premier League on Monday night.

The Gunners are fourth in the table, three points ahead of United, going into the clash.

Latest