Rob Holding says he’s becoming more aggressive and demanding as a result of working with Jens Lehmann at London Colney.
After two stints as a Gunner during his playing career, the German returned to Arsenal last summer to assist Arsene Wenger in a coaching capacity.
Tending to sit in the directors’ box on match days rather than the dugout, the 48-year-old has cut a relatively low-key figure so far this season, however, Holding insists the ‘Invincible’ continues to live up to his notoriously feisty reputation in training.
Speaking to Dubai-based publication Sport360, Holding revealed: “Jens has been a big difference since he’s come in. He’s very demanding and not afraid to get down and dirty with you – he’ll get at you and I’ll have a little snap back.
“But then after training we’ll speak about it and we’ll come to an agreement on what went on and then the next day it’s like nothing happened.
“There’s no grudges held and it’s what I think is the key to getting the best out of me. You’re more aggressive and more demanding as a consequence and that’s what I need to be as a centre-half.”
Holding also took time to reflect on his progress this season, admitting that the first few months of the season were difficult. He’s since garnered regular game time in the cup competitions and insists he’ll continue to snap at the heels of the club’s more experienced defenders.
“I’d say the first half of the season was a bit in and out, with the cup competitions, and then since late January it’s been a real knuckle down, cracking on with it and doing what I need to do,” he said.
“The manager’s noticing it and against Watford I felt like I had a really good, solid game.
“He knows that I’m there, pushing, and any little mistakes from Koscielny and Mustafi or slight injuries, I want to be the first one that he’s looking to.
“I think I’ve improved on things like heading, defending crosses, things like that and being more physical.
“I had Troy Deeney (against Watford), I knew he’d be more of a physical presence. I tried to be smarter as well, I didn’t try and fight with him as he’s a bigger guy anyway!”