by Lewis Ambrose

Mathieu Debuchy’s first season at Arsenal was disappointingly riddled with injuries which, in turn, opened the door for Héctor Bellerín to have his first season with the first-team.

The Spaniard had played plenty of times for various youth teams, as well as enjoying a short loan spell with Watford, since joining the club in 2011, and you would have got amazing odds at on his breakthrough to the first season last season, unexpected as it was.

Last season marked new ground for Bellerín, and he wants to stay in Arsène Wenger’s plans.

“My personal goal is to keep working hard and hopefully challenge for the right-back spot,” the Spanish u21 international told Arsenal Player.

“Last year I got more minutes than I thought and I think I showed people that I could play there.

“This year Mathieu is back from injury and hopefully it will be a big friendly battle in between us, and that’s going to make us better players by competing against each other. Then it’s down to the boss.”

Bellerín has certainly proven his worth, even starting in the FA Cup Final at the end of May. As well as winning the famous old trophy, he also made his first appearance for Spain u21s but he won’t be resting on his laurels as Arsenal enter a new season.

“You need to analyse yourself, things that you can do better, things that you shouldn’t do anymore and things that you need to keep doing. Definitely what you need to keep doing is working hard.

“When you work hard and you are confident, things always go the right way. That’s always been my philosophy since day one, so I’ve just got to keep doing that because at the moment it’s giving me a good result.”

It certainly is. Bellerín has been a huge part of an Arsenal defence which has impressed so far in 2015 and you have to assume that right-back slot is now his to lose. As long as he keeps working hard he will improve – he is still just 20 years old – and Debuchy will have his work cut out.

Ultimately a friendly competition between the two will only aid Arsenal.

Last season Bellerín was fortunately afforded his opportunity. This year he will have to fight to keep it.

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Usually found watching or talking about English or German football. Interested in tactics (but often despairing a lack of them). Favourite players: Bergkamp, Arteta, Özil