Emerging Arsenal star grateful to Gunners team-mates after starring role against Liverpool
- Credit: EMPICS Sport
Hector Bellerin has paid tribute to his “family” in the Arsenal dressing-room for helping him to establish himself in the team this season.
Prior to the current campaign, the young Spanish defender had made just one first-team appearance in the League Cup and spent three months on loan to Watford.
But first-choice right-back Mathieu Debuchy’s injury woes opened the door for Bellerin – and the youngster has become a regular member of the Gunners’ starting line-up since the turn of the year.
However, Bellerin insists some of the credit for his emergence should go to his more experienced team-mates, although he is reluctant to single out individuals.
“I can’t name players,” said Bellerin, who only turned 20 three weeks ago. “We are all a team. They have helped me since the beginning and are my family.
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“I feel really comfortable right now, like one more in the team and that is something that you need to have if you really want to understand players in the game.
“They have been young players as well, they have all been there, so they help you in everything they can. As you get older that is what you need to do with younger players.
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“There always has to be a transition between older players and the younger players. We are lucky in this club – we young players get the opportunities and it is important when you get them that you take them.
“That is the way to get a place in the team and I am just really happy to be getting my minutes. Every single minute that you play is like training – it helps you a lot and gives you experience.
“It gives you confidence when you have the players around you who can help you. I just work hard at training and improving myself, so I am glad people are seeing this improvement.
“It is a bit of everything – the defending really as I was always a winger in my younger career. That is probably the thing which has improved the most.”
Bellerin’s appearance against Liverpool last weekend took his total for the season to 20 – and also yielded his second senior goal as he swept in a sweet left-foot finish to set the Gunners on their way to a 4-1 win.
And the right-back – who broke the club’s sprint record, previously held by Theo Walcott, at the start of the season, is also grateful to manager Arsene Wenger for the faith shown in him during recent months.
“The chances always come through injuries, which is not a nice thing,” added Bellerin.
“Now we are going to have Debuchy back and I am happy for him, but when you get your chance, you need to do the best you can.
“I am happy that now, after not so good performances in the beginning, the coach has still put confidence in me and giving me minutes.
“I am just trying to pay him back for the trust he’s shown in me. I want to continue to work hard and try to be the best in every performance that I have, that’s all I can do.”