From helping our under-23s beat Aston Villa 2-0 to being named in Spain’s Euro 2016 squad, it’s been two years of rapid progress for Hector Bellerin.
The 21-year-old made his first Arsenal start just five days after starring in our second string’s win and, just 71 appearances later, caught Vicente del Bosque’s eye for the summer tournament in France.
“The call-up was pretty unexpected,” Bellerin told the Arsenal Weekly podcast. “I was driving to Spain because I wanted to have my car over there. Then halfway through the trip they rang me and said, ‘Hector you’ve been called up to the Spain first team’.
“There were a few players who needed to play in the Champions League final, so I was only meant to be going to train with them but then [Dani] Carvajal got injured and I was the next right back in line. I was just really excited about sharing a dressing room with my idols, players like Iker Casillas and Andres Iniesta.
“I always remember being at my grandma’s house when I was a kid and watching Spain playing in World Cups, watching Casillas in goal when he was younger. At that point it’s unthinkable that one day you’ll be sharing a dressing room with him. For us Spanish people, he’s probably been the greatest goalkeeper in history.
“It was a dream come true. It’s not just him, there’s obviously Iniesta and other players who you look up to, especially when I was at Barcelona. He was one of the players who every single academy player used to look up to every single day. It doesn’t matter what position you played, at the end of the day he was also an example as a person.
“He was always one of the people who you wanted to be like. Just training with them, sharing a dressing room and being there with them was a highlight of my year, definitely.”
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