Arsenal youngster Hector Bellerin has hailed the impact that being around the first-team squad during pre-season had for him.
The Gunners full-back was part of the 20 man squad which travelled to America and Bellerin believes that it really helped his progress.
Bellerin has made only one competitive first-team appearance for Arsenal, but he was able to play in a friendly against the New York Red Bulls, who have Gunners legend Thierry Henry in their team, when out in the States and the 19-year-old says that was the highlight of the tour.
“I had a really good time,” he said. “It was the first time I’ve been to the States as well so I really enjoyed it. All the fans over there were amazing and to be just around the first team is a great experience for us. We trained with them every day and then got to play against Thierry Henry, the legend, so it was an amazing experience for us.”
Bellerin has made the headlines this summer for beating Theo Walcott's club sprint record and there are high hopes that he can become a star at the Emirates.
Arsene Wenger has kept him around the first-team during training, although he is yet to make an appearance in a competitive match this season.
Realistically, breaking into the first time in the near future looks a tough ask, but Bellerin has time on his side and he is already eyeing up his next opportunity to impress - which could come when Arsenal take on Southampton in the Capital One Cup later this month.
“All the under-21 lads are looking forward to the game,” he revealed. “It’s definitely going to be a good game because they’re a Premier League side, so every lad is looking forward to it and working hard to see if we can get a chance and be in the squad."
If he can impress it would be a major boost for Wenger, but Arsenal look strong at right-back this season.
Calum Chambers has impressed, albeit at centre-back, so far, whilst Mathieu Debuchy is set to be first-choice for the foreseeable future.
That said, Bellerin has every chance of making the grade at a club famed for nurturing young talent and if his ability can match his speed then he is sure to be a regular feature in the side sooner rather than later.