Jon Toral has enjoyed a fantastic season out on loan with Brentford.
The Spanish midfielder, who signed for the club from Barcelona along with Hector Bellerin, has had a significantly tougher time of things with a genetic problem causing him serious knee problems that required multiple operations to fix.
Injury-free for well over a year now, the 20-year-old recently sealed an extension to his current Arsenal deal, and he says that he’s confident that he is no longer at risk from further problems.
“I’ve forgotten about the injuries.
“I’ve always said that if you think about injuries when you step on a football pitch, you’re more likely to get injured again. I don’t think about them, I feel fine physically and my knees are alright.”
Of course, for as good as Jon’s season has been, he has been eclipsed by Hector who made the breakthrough into the Arsenal first team this season and shows no signs of giving up his spot.
“I’m really proud and happy for Hector,” Jon says with a beaming grin. “I knew when he got the chance that he would take it and he’s done that. He’s enjoying it and showing everyone what a great player he is. We still see each other a lot. Thankfully we’re both in London so we often go for dinner together or to each other’s houses.
“He’s still got a lot to improve but the good thing is that he knows that and is mentally ready to keep on getting better. He’s got the quality to keep growing as a player. He’s doing great now. Offensively he’s always been really good and defensively he’s always getting better in every game while still getting used to the Premier League.
“That’s been really important for him – to get used to playing in the Premier League, in the Champions League and in these massive games. He’s got the quality and the mentality to deal with the pressure that comes with that and to become a great player in the future. You can tell that he is becoming more confident and comfortable in every game that he plays.
“He’s watched a couple of Brentford games too. He was at my debut against Fulham in the Capital One Cup, where Thomas Eisfeld played too. It’s good to see your friends on the pitch, even if they’re on the opposition team and it’s great to have that support from Hector.”
It’s not clear what next season holds for Toral but it is likely that we will see him sent on another loan spell, perhaps to a Premier League club in order to get him ready for the Arsenal