Arsenal star Hector Bellerin has conceded that being substituted at half-time against Stoke City last season could have ‘destroyed’ him.
The young right-back was withdrawn from the action at the Britannia Stadium last term during a terrible away showing from the Gunners, with Stoke going on to win the game 3-2.
He’s now admitted that at the time - which was of course prior to him becoming an integral part of Arsene Wenger’s plans - he might well have suffered from being dealt a blow to his confidence. Bellerin told his club’s official website that it was ‘the biggest thing’ on the road to him becoming a first-team star.
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“I think the biggest thing was probably after being defeated by Stoke away and being substituted after 45 minutes, it would have been easier to be destroyed by the situation," he said.
“For me it was just something where the boss thought it was a better option to have another player in my position, I didn’t need to worry about it but just keep training hard and then show him in the next game that I can do better than how I did.”
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Indeed, if there was a lesson to be learned by Bellerin on that day he certainly appears to have done his homework. Following that match the Spaniard went on to become the dominant right-back at the Emirates Stadium - he’s now first-choice ahead of Mathieu Debuchy.
In fact, his run of form was so impressive during the second-half of last season that he was tentatively linked with a return to Barcelona, the club for whom he played as a boy.
What the future holds
Attracting the attentions of the Nou Camp giants is always a sign that a player is on the road to greatness, and it can be assumed Arsene Wenger will have a task on his hands in keeping Bellerin if he continues to produce eye-catching performances.
The 20-year-old has shown he has the grit and determination to bounce back from setbacks, and he certainly has the skills to become a leading full-back in the Premier League in the years to come.
Arsenal fans, how long do you think it will be before Barcelona come knocking for Bellerin once again? Let us know in the comments box below.
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