Martin Keown’s comments on Hector Bellerin timely reminder that pace is not everything in football


Arsenal legend Martin Keown is impressed with the performance of debutant Hector Bellerin against Borussia Dortmund away from home in the Champions League on Tuesday.

Just because you have pace does not mean that you would make a great footballer. That’s the message from Arsenal legend Martin Keown to all those who are going gaga over Hector Bellerin.

The 19-year-old defender is the fastest player in the Arsenal squad, having overtaken Theo Walcott and Thierry Henry. The right-back made his competitive first-team debut for the Gunners against Borussia Dortmund in Germany on Tuesday and made a decent impression.

How good Bellerin will eventually turn out to be is open to debate, but based on his performance in a comprehensive 2-0 defeat for Arsenal in Germany in the Champions League, Keown backs him to be a success at the Emirates Stadium.

Analysing the teenager’s display at the Signal Iduna Park, former England international defender Keown told the Daily Mail: ‘I think he looks a good player and it was a very tough night to make your debut. He played with a lot of confidence, passed well, got forward when he could and was not at fault for the goals.

‘Lots has been made about his pace – he beat Thierry Henry and Theo Walcott’s club record over 40metres - but it’s about how you use that in a game situation.

‘He doesn’t look like a player who wastes that pace flying around trying to do too much work for everyone. He seems quite measured in what he does’.

Encouraging words from Keown, but only time will tell how good Bellerin is. The Arsenal legend’s comments about the youngster's speed should also be a timely reminder to all those football fans who believe that pace is everything in football. It is not - Usain Bolt is the fastest man in the world, but would he be a successful footballer?

Register for ARSENAL team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch