Ex-coach says this Arsenal star could have been a Barcelona regular

Arsenal

Hector Bellerin's former coach believes the full-back would be a fixture in the Spanish side now had the club not chosen to sell him.

A former coach of Arsenal full-back Hector Bellerin has told Goal.com that the Spaniard could have become a regular fixture in the Barcelona side had he not been sold by the Catalan club.

Bellerin began his career with the Spanish club's famous La Masia academy at the age of eight, where he would play with such stars as Everton man Gerard Deulofeu, Bayern Munich midfielder Thiago Alcantara, and current young Barca trio Marc Bartra, Rafinha, and Sandro.

However, unlike the latter three, Bellerin was not given his chance to break into the first team at the Nou Camp, instead being released and moving to Arsenal in 2011 as 16-year-old.

The right-back has become a fixture in Arsene Wenger's side over the last two years, and has made 33 appearances in all competitions this season including missing just two Premier League matches.

Bellerin's former youth coach at Barca, Albert Benaiges, told Goal that he fully believes the youngster had - and still has - what it takes to make it at the Spanish giants.

He said: "It was a shame when he decided to leave. It was down to financial matters; Barca are not ready to challenge British clubs for youth players.

"Bellerin is one of the few players I was sure would be able to reach the first FCB team sooner or later, as he was still very young. He was very fast and intelligent, I remember also he had a great strike with his right foot.

"[But] Arsenal are a club that care for young players a lot, they worry about their adaptation and take them to live with English families and they keep them apart from financial issues."

Bellerin is likely to play at the Nou Camp against his former club for the first time when Arsenal travel to Barcelona for the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie on Wednesday night.

The Gunners are 2-0 down from the first leg and must win by two clear goals to force extra-time or progress to the last 32.

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