Arsenal centre-back Laurent Koscielny has told the club’s official website that he expects the emerging Hector Bellerin to show his class in Saturday lunchtime’s north London derby through his attack-minded role on the right flank.
Bellerin, 19, signed for Arsenal in the summer of 2011 along with Barcelona teammate Jon Toral, following in the footsteps of fellow La Masia product Cesc Fabregas.
After making his senior debut in September 2013, the Spanish right-back spent most of last winter on loan at Championship side Watford, before earning a spot in the first-team this term following the departures of Bakary Sagna and Carl Jenkinson.
Starting the campaign behind summer signings Mathieu Debuchy and Calum Chambers in the pecking order, injuries to the pair have since seen him start the past two Premier League games, with his performances earning widespread praise.
Koscienly has been more than impressed with his attacking impact in recent weeks, and believes that both he and fellow breakout star Francis Coquelin will prove an important part of the side for the remainder of the campaign.
“Before, [Bellerin] played well but now you feel he is more confident and has more freedom - that’s good for us,” the Frenchman said.
“He helps a lot of the team to go forward and puts in a lot of crosses. It’s important to have some new blood in the team and I think they have helped us get some good results.
“To have more confidence and freedom on the pitch, you need to play more games. They did well against Manchester City, Stoke City and also in the game against Aston Villa, so I think they are ready to give 100 per cent of their quality to the team.
“You don’t need motivation when you play a derby. It’s the most important game in your season for the fans and the club. We will be focused, we will try to win because we want to stay at the top of the table and winning against Tottenham is always a pleasure for us, the fans and for the club.”
Bellerin has made 11 total appearances for the Gunners, this season, including five starts in seven top-flight games, and netted his first goal for the club in last weekend’s 5-0 thumping of Aston Villa.