Remaining at Barcelona may seem like an easy choice for young players - but not Hector Bellerin.

The young right back, together with team-mate Jon Toral, arrived at London Colney last summer despite offers to remain in Catalonia. It was a path well travelled by those before them, with the likes of Cesc Fabregas and Fran Merida having opted for life in north London early in their careers.

“It is obvious that Barcelona is a big and famous club, but Arsenal is too,” said the 17-year-old. “Everyone has to make their own choice for their future and I believe that my prospects of development as a player would be better at Arsenal. To stay at Barcelona was an option, but they do not give the opportunities to young players like those available here."

The early signs suggest it is a decision which may well pay off for Bellerin. His marauding displays at right back have caught the eye, leading to a call-up to the reserves towards the end of the campaign where he once again impressed.

As a first-year scholar it has been a swift rise for the Spain youth international, who now looks set to play a key role in next season's keenly-anticipated NextGen Series.

“The fact I was a winger for 12 years has helped me understand what my opponents are thinking and how they want to play so I am able to use that when I defend to stop them. The fact that I have had encouragement on the defensive side of my game gives me confidence because I never played in that position before I joined Arsenal and I am learning all the time."

Hector announced his arrival on to the reserves scene with a goal in the 2-0 win at Chelsea in March. The young Spaniard showed lightning pace to storm past his man up the right flank before seeing his poked shot saved. But the rebound fell to him, which he headed over the line from a tight angle.

Competition Appearances Goals
Premier Reserve League 1+2 1
Premier Academy League 12+4 0
FA Youth Cup 1 0
Total 14+6 1
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27 Jun 2012