Speaking to the club’s official website, Arsenal captain Mikel Arteta has praised Hector Bellerin after seeing his compatriot establish himself in the line-up in recent weeks, believing that it’s a credit to his work ethic and willingness to learn.
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 a solid preseason.
While he started the campaign behind summer signings Mathieu Debuchy and Calum Chambers in the pecking order, injuries to the pair have since seen him make three consecutive Premier League starts, with his performances earning widespread praise in the process.
Watching from the sidelines, the injured Arteta has been more than impressed at how his fellow Spaniard has taken to a starting role, and sees him becoming a core part of the side moving forward.
“I’ve been really impressed with Hector since he came into the first team - perhaps even more with his attitude than his quality, because I knew all about that,” he said.
“I said at the start of the season that in terms of the young players, he was the closest to making a breakthrough because he has the attributes to become one of the club’s most important players.
“He is very brave, his decision making is good and he’s a great athlete. He is very open, he is willing to understand what the manager and the team want from him on the pitch and his attitude and contribution have been really good.”
Bellerin has made 12 total appearances for the Gunners this season, including six starts in eight top-flight games, and netted his first goal for the club in the 5-0 thumping of Aston Villa.