Former striker, Tony Cascarino, has been unimpressed with Hector Bellerin’s recent performances and even believes the right-back’s development has gone backwards under Arsene Wenger.
In his recent column for the Times, former Celtic striker Cascarino echoed what most Arsenal fans are thinking right now: what on earth happened to Hector Bellerin?
“I don’t know what has happened to Hector Bellerin, who has really gone backwards for Arsenal,” Cascarino said.
“He was touted as one of the country’s best right backs.
“He’s supposedly wanted by Barcelona, but he hardly got a kick in the first half last night.
“He was offering very little in attack and he was caught out defensively on occasions.
“We often question Arsene Wenger’s development of young players at Arsenal.
“And this could be another piece of evidence against the Frenchman.
“The contrast was stark between Bellerin and Ainsley Maitland-Niles, who was so much more effective at left back.”
From when Bellerin broke into Arsenal’s first team in 2014/15 to around mid-way through last season, the Spaniard was one of the most exciting right-backs in Europe. At this stage, he was still a teenager, quick as a bullet, and keen to get improve.
It didn’t take long for him to cement himself in Arsene Wenger’s starting XI and earn himself a new, six-year contract in November 2016. However, ever since, Bellerin seems to have not only stalled in his progress but gone backwards. This season in particular, he’s been really poor.
So, why is this? There could be a few reasons. Firstly, the 22-year-old suffered with an ongoing ankle problem last year and hasn’t seemed nearly as fast since his return.
Secondly, according to David Ornstein, Bellerin really did want to sign for Barcelona in the summer, which might mean he’s not really ‘feeling’ playing for Arsenal any more. Much like Alexis Sanchez.
Or, like Cascarino, he’s just not developing to the best of his ability under Wenger. Like most of the squad, his progress has stalled.
Hopefully, he can get back to his best.