Arsene Wenger happy with Granit Xhaka & Rob Holding debuts

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Arsene Wenger has been criticised for his inaction in the current transfer window but the Arsenal manager certainly seems happy with his business thus far.

While Gunners fans were hoping to see a new world-class striker and perhaps PFA Player of the Year Riyad Mahrez arriving at the Emirates, they were treated to their first sight of Granit Xhaka and Rob Holding in an Arsenal shirt on Thursday night.

Both the midfielder and the defender played a part in the friendly fixture against the MLS All-Stars, which they won 2-1 thanks to goals from Joel Campbell and Chuba Akpom.

Holding played the full 90 minutes for the Gunners while Xhaka, who featured for Switzerland at Euro 2016, emerged from the bench at half-time.

Speaking to Arsenal's official website, Wenger went as far to say he was "surprised" by how well Holding has adapted since his £2m move from Bolton Wanderers and said the £30m star Xhaka looked "encouraging".

Impressive Debuts

On Xhaka, Wenger said: "He did adjust very well. His passing was clean and technically he did well. Overall I believe his first game was encouraging."

On Holding, he said:  "He has adapted surprisingly in a very good way. He reads the game well and understands what's going on. He anticipates well and that's a quality, at such a young age, that you don't find a lot.

Holding's view

Little was expected of the 20-year-old defender after his low-key move from the Championship but after Per Mertesacker's serious knee injury, Holding could find himself playing a more prominent role this season.

Wenger is clearly a big fan of his and has never shied away from giving youngsters a chance in the first-team. The man himself appears to have taken a lot of confidence from his first performance.

Holding told "I think I did all right. It would have topped it off had my header gone in from that corner. That would have been a bit of a glory moment, but I'll keep working on it and it will come hopefully.

"I was a bit nervous coming into it. I was bound to be, but once I was on the pitch and warming up the jitters go and you are OK then. Your stomach settles and you feel good."


Arsenal will take on Chivas de Guadalajara this coming Monday in the StubHub Arena before returning to Europe where they will play two more friendlies against Viking FK and Manchester City before starting their Premier League campaign against Liverpool.

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Jack Wilshere
Granit Xhaka
Theo Walcott
Premier League
Arsene Wenger

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