Tag Archives: young

​The Unearthing of Rob Holding

Published on Arsenal Mania

That £5 note you find in your old jeans. Getting to work and remembering that tomorrow is the start of a Bank Holiday Weekend. After a long day at work and finding out you’ve got a roast dinner waiting for you.

Finding good stuff really puts a brightener on your day. It doesn’t happen often enough for the regularity to dull it, and when it does occur, your whole mood changes. Maybe for five minutes, maybe the whole complexion of your day is uplifted.

One of the few things that can match that high is a bargain. One of those buys that you’re sure the shop has placed the wrong price sticker on. It is so cheap you’re worried until you’ve left the store. It is such a steal you feel like a shoplifter.

So just imagine how Arsene Wenger felt when he first saw Rob Holding in action on the training field.

The £2m outlay we splashed on the 21yr old last summer didn’t initially raise any eyebrows. It seemed as if the purchase for this young defender was one for the future, one to keep our eyes on in the next few seasons to see if he would make the grade or if he – like so many others of his age – would fade into obscurity with a series of loans and an inevitable slide down the leagues.

18 appearances later, and we are singing his name in the stands.

The normal parameters have not applied to this starlet so far in what is his first taste of the top flight. Players usually require a long run in the side to guarantee rhythm and the honing of their talents so we can see the keenest edge of their play. Rob Holding – you know – has been in and out of the team and yet has been an immovable force in terms of stifling attacking opponents. He hasn’t needed the run of games, he has just given it everything he has got.

It is since we have switched to three central defenders though, that we have had to squint our eyes as the brightness has burned into our retina’s. Holding has taken to his task with gusto and taking every obstacle that he has faced this season into consideration – he hasn’t looked out of place alongside his more illustrious and experienced defensive partners.

This is his first season in the Premier League. Prior to this, he played 30 games for Bolton Wanderers in the Championship in a season which saw the Trotters relegated. His displays despite the poor results showed a boy who had the instincts and defensive nous which could be sculpted. He marshalled the Bolton backline in what was his first full season as a pro. That screams leadership. It bellows nerves of steel and an unwillingness to yield.

This season we are seeing what a player this young man could become. He will have his wobbles next season as the second season syndrome kicks in – all youngsters who blaze a trail in their first season will always find a sticky patch in their next campaign, much like Alex Iwobi – but we need to remember the player he can become.

Mistakes are what players need to learn. It means his howlers will take place on the biggest of stages, but he needs the scars to lure out the player that he can become. This is how these youngsters improve.

His first season shows he promises much. If he carries on his current trajectory, there is no telling what he can achieve. What a player we have found, and we have every right to be excited.

Who knows what levels he can reach. Cannavaro, watch out.

Cohen Bramall Signs for Arsenal and Lives the Dream

The transfer window has opened and Arsenal have acted early and signed a player! Will wonders never cease?

Before you start frothing and frantically searching for this hotshot who will revitalise our season, the new recruit is not exactly bound to make strides in the first team – at least not yet.

The new signing is aimed at strengthening a position that may be under scrutiny in a couple of years, but this left-back has much to prove before we see him rampage down the flank.

Cohen Bramall was announced officially by Arsenal and the peculiar amount of fanfare for this kid from non-league Hednesford Town was strange to say the least.

Starved as we are as Gooners of transfer activity, the club must have thought the photoshoot and interview of Bramall would fill the gap and sate the hunger for any news on the signings – or even contract extension – front. 

Also, with the reach that the club has and how every piece of news, important or not, is quickly digested by millions, the club cannot be wholly blamed for using this underwhelming signing as a means to show that Arsenal are active and preparing for the future. Or at least showing fans that we have eyes on talent everywhere.

Regardless of what the club thought when parading Bramall, the bottom line for every new signing is whether they are actually any good? Can they benefit the side now or in the near future?

Young Cohen isn’t going to blaze a scorching trail across our immediate fixtures, nor will he make any impact on the first team this season – injuries permitting. Bramall is set firmly in the future category. Any player that isn’t ready yet always carries a risk when purchased, as thir skillset isn’t honed nor are unfisnished articles capable of offering a guarantee to what they will be able to give when they do come out of the figurative oven. Potential is a beautiful, yet dangerous trait. Potential does not win you matches.

We do know that Arsene Wenger values pace above many assets. In this regard, it is quite clear why Bramall is now resplendent in Arsenal colours. According to his former coach at Hednesford Town in an interview with the Birmingham Mail, it is claimed he can run the 100m in 10 seconds. The national qualifiying standard for 100m is 10.18seconds. There are other reports that claim different times over the same distance, but what the universal theme is on Cohen Bramall is that he is fast. Lightning fast.

If speed was the only skill we required, then Usain Bolt would be our Number9. We also need many other things to have a decent prospect on our hands. With our extensive coaching system at London Colney, if Bramall has the basic building blocks, then we can be confident that the club will coax out a decent player in Bramall.

Let us all take a minute to bask in what is a sepia-toned Disney family movie moment though. Separate yourself from gritty reality just for a moment and remember the hazy dreams you used to have as a kid. Bramall lived his.

Sacked from an industrial type job, he then gets snapped up by a huge football club to live his fantasy. It truly is movie-script worthy. Can’t we all get on board with this rose-tinted transfer and keep a close eye on this kid who above all odds, might just make it? Do we have to bemoan this £40k transfer simply because we want that superstar instead?

This transfer is at the heart of football. That money will boost a non-league team. The kid represents the dreams of many. He also could go on and aid our team at the highest level. We just don’t know at this point in time.

I’m just happy to see how happy Bramall is, and trying to envision how he felt the first time he walked into training. Talk about an eye opener when he sees Alexis Sanchez lacing up his boots for a kickabout with him.

Good luck Cohen. Welcome to the Gunners and keep that dream alive. Not only for you but for every kid who loves football. 

Unknown History 2 – Thierry Henry

Seeing as Thierry Henry chose the age of social networking to display his fine wares on the football pitch – most will claim to be aware of his story. Truth be told though, little is known of the true origin of perhaps the greatest player to ever don the Cannon jersey.

Until now.

I delved deep with a team of researchers and a Value Multi-Pack of RedBull and we went to work unearthing the past of the man we all call ‘Le King’.

I give you the Unknown History of Thierry Henry.

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Born in one of the many suburbs of Paris in 1977, his father showed little interest in his birth and presence. His father – Antoine –  was part of a fledgling group who were the flagbearers for the initial ‘Minimalist Earth Lovers’ Party, whose manifesto was to spread love throughout the world, but without actually doing anything. Most of his days were spent at the mouthpiece of a bong and watching Mexican Midget Wrestling. Continue reading Unknown History 2 – Thierry Henry