Hector Bellerin admits he did not expect feature so much for Arsenal’s first team this season.
The 20-year-old was behind more experienced right backs Mathieu Debuchy and Calum Chambers at the beginning of the campaign, but injuries meant Bellerin was handed his Champions League debut against Borussia Dortmund.
Since then, the Spain Under-21 defender has made 20 more appearances for Arsene Wenger’s side and even scored against Aston Villa and Liverpool.
"I think I’ve been more comfortable in the last few performances - from the beginning of the year onwards - and I’m really enjoying my football"
“If someone would have told me that this was a position I would do well in this season, I wouldn’t have believed them,” Bellerin said. “We’re still fighting for the second spot and we’re in the FA Cup final. Everything has been a surprise to me and I’m really, really enjoying it.
“I was really close to leaving on loan again and was talking to the coaches about where to go next season, but it turned out way differently. I knew that I was going to work hard wherever I was, fight for a spot wherever I was, and that’s what I did. I got my chance and I think I took it.
“There were a few not so good performances at the beginning but then I was really happy that the boss gave me the chance to show people what I had in me. I think I’ve been more comfortable in the last few performances - from the beginning of the year onwards - and I’m really enjoying my football.”
Bellerin’s main competition comes from Debuchy and with the France defender returning to full fitness, the Spaniard insists the competition between the two will only benefit the team.
“I definitely want to remain first choice, that’s what any player wants to do, week-in, week-out in any position,” he said. “Mathieu has shown that he’s a great player but he’s been really unlucky with injuries. It’s going to be a good fight.
“The spirit is really good between us in the dressing room, so I think it’s really positive that in every single position there’s loads of top-quality players who need to fight for their spot. The fact that there’s a good spirit gets the best out of everyone.”
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