Arsenal’s Héctor Bellerín has become the first-choice right-back at the club at the young age of 20, but still values the experience of older players and the competitive element they bring.
Last summer the Gunners spent around £12M to sign Debuchy from Newcastle United but the France international finds himself second to Bellerín going into his second season at the club.
A couple of serious injuries curtailed Debuchy’s first Arsenal campaign, allowing Bellerín the opportunity to stake a claim for his place. Now, despite starting in Bellerín’s absence in the opening weekend defeat to West Ham United, the Frenchman finds himself behind the man 10 years his junior.
Bellerín returned to the team for last week’s game against Crystal Palace and is expected to start against Liverpool on Monday night, but feels having Debuchy back is a good thing as it will only make him stronger.
“Mathieu Debuchy is back now so we know there is going to be a lot of competition but we all say that is a good thing,” the Spaniard said.
“Competition always makes you train harder and perform better because you know you have to give 100 percent otherwise you are going to be on the bench.”
There’s a chance Bellerín will be able to learn a thing or two from having a 30 year-old with 26 international caps in his position with him in training each day, and that’s not where he’ll stop in his search for advice.
Petr Čech, even older than Debuchy at 33 years of age, joined from Chelsea this season and has impressed Bellerín.
“The confidence that he (Čech) gives you when he is in goal, he is a player who has lived a lot, he’s won loads of trophies and is a legend of the Premier League so he has always got that piece of advice for you.”
Advice from Čech will only serve Bellerín hugely as he adds it to his natural talent, and competition with Debuchy. The Arsenal right-back has all the tools necessary to make the most of his ability including, crucially, the drive to become better.