The Spanish youngster says that he came close to arranging a departure on loan to go in search of first-team opportunities before Mathieu Debuchy’s injuries gave him a chance


Arsenal full-back Hector Bellerin warns he will not easily give up his starting place to Mathieu Debuchy, having only just proved his worth after nearly leaving on loan.

The France international has had his first season at the Emirates Stadium disrupted by injuries, allowing the Spanish youngster to impress in his position over recent months.

Bellerin has taken his opportunity to start in 22 games over all competitions, scoring goals against Aston Villa and Liverpool, but says that he had been talking to Gunners staff about getting playing time elsewhere before Arsene Wenger threw him into the first-team reckoning.

“I definitely want to remain first choice – that’s what any player wants to do, week-in, week-out, in any position,” he told the club’s official website.

“Mathieu has shown that he’s a great player but he’s been really unlucky with injuries. It’s going to be a good fight.

“The spirit is really good between us in the dressing room so I think it’s really positive that, in every single position, there’s loads of top-quality players who need to fight for their spot. The fact that there’s a good spirit gets the best out of everyone.

“If someone would have told me that this was a position I would do well in this season, I wouldn’t have believed them.

“We’re still fighting for the second spot and we’re in the FA Cup final. Everything has been a surprise to me and I’m really, really enjoying it.

“I was really close to leaving on loan again and was talking to the coaches about where to go next season but it turned out way differently.

“I knew that I was going to work hard wherever I was, fight for a spot wherever I was, and that’s what I did. I got my chance and I think I took it.

“There were a few not-so-good performances at the beginning but then I was really happy that the boss gave me the chance to show people what I had in me.

“I think I’ve been more comfortable in the last few performances – from the beginning of the year onwards – and I’m really enjoying my football.”