Mikel Arteta believes that although Hector Bellerin has made leaps and bounds in terms of progress since last season, he still needs to continue to prove himself on the pitch.
The captain reckons that the right-back has had the ideal introduction to the team after being left out of the starting 11 for a while. When he was given his chance after Debuchy got injured, he took it and proved to everyone why he should be starting.
“He had that perfect development,” Arteta said. “He was in the first team but he had some difficult games to start with, like when we played Dortmund and Stoke away last year.
“He realised it wasn’t that easy and then he was left out for a while. He started to build his game, his confidence and naturally he’s become a first choice.”
Arteta continued, “Everybody knows that he’s got the technical ability. Physical he’s very quick and mentally he deals with situations and sometimes that’s the most important thing.
“After a very good first season he needs to prove himself again. He needs to prepare mentally because now people are going to be expecting things from him.
“I think he’s lucky because he has people who look after him. He gets good advice, he has good competition with Mathieu. He cannot relax and he knows he cannot relax. He’s an intelligent boy.”
It’s looking increasingly likely that the young Spaniard will be holding onto his starting position, considering Debuchy hasn’t exactly been impressing on the pitch so far. The Frenchman appears to have lost quite a bit of pace after his injury last season and his positioning has become a little… absent.
“It tells you about his personality,” the midfielder said about Bellerin. “He doesn’t care – Mathieu is a French international but he wants to compete as well and he wants to earn his place.
“He’s very brave in the way he plays. I think that’s what people like – he takes people on, he makes runs, he goes forward and he’s not afraid of anything.
“Football is a long run. It’s not about the next few months, it’s about being consistent and at that level for a long time. Mathieu is going to put pressure on him and it’s going to be good for both of them.
“I knew two years ago that he had the ability to be first choice at Arsenal and I can’t see any better right backs in the next two years in Spain.”
Arteta concluded, “I know Hector and if he makes the right decisions in the next few months, I think he’s going to have a chance.”
If Bellerin continues to shine and Debuchy persists to forget where he plays, it’s looking as if the former won’t have to challenge for his place in the team at all.