When Hector Bellerin first arrived here from Barcelona in 2011, he was a lively winger who, in his own words, “didn’t know how to defend”.
But five years on, the Spain international has established himself as our first-choice right back and one of the world’s most exciting young defenders.
So how has he done it? Bellerin’s progress was rewarded with a new contract on Monday, and Arsène Wenger revealed exactly how the 21-year-old’s game has evolved during his time in north London.
“He has improved in his defensive responsibilities,” the manager told Arsenal Player. “You see him now save dangerous situations in the central area of the centre backs. We have seen that again against Tottenham where he made a tackle inside the box nearly on the left side, because he has that potential for covering runs that are fantastic.
“He’s developed very well his defensive qualities and he is more offensive and much more decisive in his offensive game. His physical potential is absolutely huge, not only is he quick but he can repeat. He can put the volume and the intensity into his game and you do not meet that often in your career.
“He has integrated the values that are important and also, because he is a carrier of the values that are important for the club, I think he will be one of the strong members of this club in the future.
“He has a fantastic mentality and Arsenal has been fantastic for Hector as well because he went through some difficult moments in his career and we kept always faith in him. On that front, Hector was loyal and envisages his career here and I think it’s a fantastic move for Hector and for the club. Both are winners in this deal.”
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