Julio Plegueuzuelo has revealed that Nacho Monreal and Hector Bellerin gave him a dressing room pep talk ahead of his Arsenal debut last month.
Pleguezuelo finally made his first senior Arsenal appearance in late October, playing against Blackpool in the League Cup. After waiting so long for his chance, you could understand if the Spaniard was a little nervous before the game. Thankfully, he had Nacho Monreal and Hector Bellerin to help him out.
“I have a very good relationship with them,” Pleguezuelo told Marca. “Since I arrived at the club they have helped me a lot in everything. Hector is an amazing person and I have no problems with them.
“The day of the debut they gave me courage in the dressing room. They were not summoned, but they came over to give me a ‘chat’ and I really appreciated it. With people like that, everything is much easier, they are two examples.”
It’s great to hear that the senior players support the academy graduates like that, particularly as neither Bellerin nor Monreal were in the squad for the match that day. They knew Pleguezuelo would need some encouragement, so they turned up for him all the same.
As for the actual debut, Pleguezuelo says the whole experience happened very quickly, and it was all a bit of a dream come true.
“It was spectacular, everything happened very fast,” he said. “It was an incredible experience to be able to debut with the first team. At last the reward came. The day before, I was called to train with the first team. That same Tuesday I was meant to play with the sub 21 but, in training, they told me that I would be in the XI with the seniors.
“The atmosphere is incredible, a lot of people squeeze in. Everything that is said about British football in that sense is true, and the Emirates is a clear example. One always dreams of playing in such places, for me, it is another dream fulfilled.”
The defender made a good first impression, as Arsenal won the match despite going down to 10 men with over half an hour still to play. The fact the Gunners only conceded to a set piece, that Pleguezuelo couldn’t have done anything about, shows how well he performed under the circumstances.
Let’s hope he gets more chances to prove himself before his contract is up at the end of the season.