Joel Campbell says his loan experiences formed an “important part” in shaping him into the player he is today.
The Costa Rica forward has featured in Arsenal’s last four games, scoring his first goal for the club in the 3-0 win at Swansea.
Campbell was made to wait until the start of last season to make his debut, but he it was worth the wait because of the lessons he learned on loan across Europe.
“I really enjoyed my loan spells at Lorient, Betis, Olympiacos and more recently at Villarreal,” the 23-year-old told Arsenal Player. “Those experiences really helped me in terms of my personality and as life experience. They were great times for me.
“I had a great coach in Christian Gourcuff [at Lorient] and learnt a lot of things from him. It was like my first lesson here in Europe, I was happy and enjoyed it to the full. It's an important part of who I am today.
“Betis also treated me really well, the fans were amazing and I have to say I really enjoyed my stay there. The team had a great season and the fans were right behind the team and me personally so I'll never forget my time there.
“At Olympiacos I had lots of confidence - the coach, Michel, gave me a lot of confidence and made me an important player in the team, which I was able to make the most of. I was a more mature player by that point too as I'd been in Europe for two years and that was really important for me.”
Arsenal currently have 11 youngsters gaining valuable experience on loan, and Campbell believes the exposure to first-team football will only benefit them.
“Life is about experiences,” he said. “It’s important to have had those experiences and I'm really happy about them. I enjoy it because as I said life is about having different experiences and now being here in the Premier League is another experience I'm enjoying, especially playing for a club like Arsenal.
“I would advise young players to make the most of the loan and to enjoy it. They should try to test themselves as footballers and people and do as well as they can so that they can come back to their parent club and be able to play.”
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