Boost for Arsenal as long-term injury absentee Holding returns to full training

Rob Holding Arsenal 2018-19
The Gunners centre-back suffered a knee ligament injury in December but is closing in on his first appearance of the season

Arsenal have received a timely boost with news that Rob Holding is back in full training with the first team squad.

The defender has been out of senior action after suffering a serious knee injury last December in the 2-2 draw with Manchester United at Old Trafford.

The 23-year-old resumed training with a ball in the summer and has got minutes under his belt with the club’s Under-23’s in recent weeks.

And Arsenal have now confirmed Holding is back in training with Unai Emery’s first-team squad ahead of Sunday’s clash at Watford and looks set to compete with Calum Chambers and Shkodran Mustafi for a place on the bench behind starters David Luiz and Sokratis.

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Holding was signed from Bolton Wanderers in the summer of 2016, but despite making a good early impression has been restricted to just 31 appearances for the Gunners due to a string of injuries.

Meanwhile, Arsenal’s latest medical bulletin confirmed more progress is being made by those currently on the sidelines.

Hector Belllerin (knee), Kieran Tireney (groin) and Dinos Mavropanos (groin) are on the mend and expected to resume first team training later this month.

Emery will also be anxiously checking on players due back from international duty over the next few days.

Midfielder Granit Xhaka has revealed that he has been suffering with an Achilles problem since the start of the season.

The 26-year-old started Switzerland’s Euro 2020 qualifier against Gibralter on Sunday night but was substituted with 15 minutes remaining.

‘I’ve been suffering from Achilles tendon pain for a few weeks now. I felt it during the game,’ he said following Switzerland’s win. “It hurts now, but it should be okay otherwise.”

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Xhaka was widely criticised for his performance in the North London Derby after a clumsy challenge on Son Heung-min allowed Harry Kane to double Tottenham’s lead from the penalty spot in the 2-2 draw.

And Xhaka told Swiss publication Blick : “It’s part of football, there are a lot of people that talk a lot. I cannot influence anything and I do not want to. It is not my business. My job is to perform on the pitch.”

In addition Joe Willock withdrew from England U21 duty with a calf problem and Lucas Torreira was omitted from the Uruguay squad that faced USA on Tuesday due to a muscular complaint..