Football

Bacary Sagna was a really big mentor for me - Hector Bellerin

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Hector Bellerin has revealed that former Arsenal right-back Bacary Sagna is the player he has studied the most during his formative years in north London, claiming the France international defender was a "really big mentor" for him before his Bosman free transfer to Manchester City last summer.

The 19-year-old has made an impressive breakthrough in Arsene Wenger's first-team this season, filling in for fellow full-backs Mathieu Debuchy and Calum Chambers while they've been sidelined by injury.

Making his full debut against Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League, Bellerin has become a regular fixture in the Gunners back four these past few months and is now being selected ahead of Chambers on the right side of defence.

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With Debuchy likely to be on the treatment table until April as he continues his recovery from a dislocated shoulder, the talented young Spaniard is hoping to continue his current run in the side, and puts his swift development down to the detailed analysis of his own game and the frequent assessment of other more experienced players that operate in his position.

"I always try to watch games to review myself, analyse what I've done wrong, what I've done right and keep doing what I've done right," he told Arsenal Player. "I look at other players in the Premier League because it's good to look at them and learn from them.

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"I really like players like Pablo Zabaleta, I think he's a really complete player when he's attacking and defending. Also Cafu, who was an attacking right back as well, Dani Alves too - they're the players that I can try to get the techniques and the positioning from.

"When Bacary Sagna was here he was a really big mentor for me. He did things right on the pitch, he was up for it and he was a good example especially for young players, so I would say he's the one who I would have studied the most from Arsenal.

"I always feel that there's something to learn about - it doesn't matter which position, everybody has got something to really help you so I think that's the way to grow off the pitch."

That sort of attitude will be music to the ears of Wenger, who is one of the most successful coaches in world football when it comes to the nurturing and development of up and coming talent.

There's plenty of bright young products on the books at the Emirates with the natural ability to forge a career in professional football, but it's only the ones with the right application and approach to learning that tend to actually make the step up from youth team to senior fold.

However, Bellerin's latest comments won't have gone unnoticed by the likes of Debuchy and Chambers, who might be a little peeved when they hear their team-mate has taken more inspiration from a player now plying his trade at the Etihad Stadium.

Wenger reveals Coquelin error

Arsene Wenger has admitted that he planned to offload midfielder Francis Coquelin in the January transfer window.

The 23-year-old Frenchman was recalled from his loan spell at Championship outfit Charlton Athletic in December following an injury to Mikel Arteta, and has since established himself as an important first-team regular.

Alves nears Camp Nou exit

Barcelona defender Dani Alves is in advanced talks to leave Camp Nou when his contract expires this summer, according to his agent Dinorah Santana.

The Brazil international has been heavily linked with a possible move to the Premier League, and the Gunners are among a number of clubs reportedly interested in acquiring his signature.

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Topics:
Football
Premier League
Bacary Sagna
Arsenal

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