Hector Bellerin relishing 'unexpected' first-team opportunities at Arsenal

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Hector Bellerin reflects on his arrival at Arsenal and discusses his conversion from winger to full-back.

Hector Bellerin is savouring the first-team opportunities given to him at Arsenal since breaking into Arsene Wenger's side at the beginning of this season.

The 20-year-old, who had spent last season on loan at Watford, was handed his professional debut in a Champions League group-stage clash with Borussia Dortmund after full-backs Mathieu Debuchy, Calum Chambers and Nacho Monreal were all ruled out of the game through injury.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Hector Bellerin reflects on his arrival at Arsenal and discusses his conversion from winger to full-back.

Speaking to Sky Sports ahead of Arsenal's trip to Turf Moor, Bellerin has reflected on his unexpected rise to first-team regular.

Since starting at Signal Iduna Park, the Spaniard has grasped the opportunity with both hands, starting 20 games for the Gunners and netting his first goals against Aston Villa and, more recently, Liverpool.

And, having come through a difficult debut game, Bellerin believes he has made a great start to his fledging professional career.

"This season has been my best season so far," he told Sky Sports. "I've been playing two seasons professionally, but this one has been really good.

"It was unexpected with regards to the game time I've been getting. I'm really happy and grateful for the minutes and I've just been trying to push myself.

More from Burnley V Arsenal

"Dortmund is one of the biggest stages in Europe and I made my full professional debut with Arsenal there. It was a hard game and we didn’t have our best performance.

"It was the hardest game I could possibly play. Obviously things are difficult, but the atmosphere and it being a Champions League game, and my first start, made it a really big game.

"But I’m glad I got it out of the way and got to play in such a big stadium against a really good team."

It was unexpected with regards to the game time I’ve been getting. I’m really happy and grateful for the minutes and I’ve just been trying to push myself. This season has been my best season so far. I’ve been playing two seasons professionally, but this one has been really good.
Hector Bellerin

Bellerin followed in the footsteps of fellow-Spaniard Cesc Fabregas in moving from Barcelona to North London at a young age.

His rise through the ranks into the first team has resembled that of Fabregas. And Bellerin confirmed he took inspiration from the former Arsenal captain’s move, a switch which he now feels is paying off.

"There are so many people who have moved and they haven’t been successful," he added. "At the same time I thought, if Cesc did it, why can't I do it?

"It was a big change and a hard decision to make. I was at Barcelona for half of my life so it was obviously a big step.

"Coming to a new country, a new league and a new club was a challenge I really wanted to take. A lot of people called me crazy asking why I left the best club in the world.

"I was really happy when Arsenal told me they wanted to sign me. It’s been a big opportunity to grow up as a person.

"I’m really lucky to be in the dressing room I am in, with the players I am with. It’s really helped me and I feel part of the team and valued and that has given me a lot of confidence.

"These four years have been a really good experience and, while this may be a bit early, I think it’s paid off."

Watch the extended interview with Hector Bellerin on Soccer Saturday before live coverage of Burnley v Arsenal on Saturday Night Football. Coverage starts at 4.45pm, Sky Sports 1 HD.

Live Ford Saturday Night Football

Around Sky