Hector Bellerin told the Oxford Union that the difference between his time at Barcelona and at Arsenal is stark, after making the move as a 16-year-old.
Back in 2011, Bellerin swapped Barcelona’s La Masia academy for Arsenal’s Hale End.
Slowly, he worked his way up to the first team, after a loan to Watford in 2013/14.
Although he didn’t immediately step up into the senior squad, the Spaniard says he could see the difference in training from day one in North London.
“It was like night and day, the difference between Barcelona and Arsenal,” he revealed. “At Barcelona I was just 8-16, when I came to Arsenal I was a professional footballer.
“At Barcelona we were just kicking around on the pitch, at Arsenal, my first day, there were no balls.”
It’s certainly surprising to hear that the Hale End training methods were more professional.
Given La Masia is famed as one of the best youth academies in the world, you’d expect the training to reflect that.
Perhaps it’s simply evidence of the difference in focus, playing football in England or Spain.
La Liga is better known for intelligent possession play, whereas the Premier League is primarily a physical battle.
If your main aim is to improve your ability on the ball, you need to have a ball at your feet.
That’s not so much the case if you just want to build your strength, speed and stamina.
Fortunately for Bellerin, he had the basic physicality necessary to make the transition, thanks to his blistering pace.
Now, the 22-year-old starts every big game for Arsenal’s first team. The combination of the two training styles clearly left him in a good place.