Hector Bellerin credits Kieran Tierney with helping push him through the final stages of his rehabilitation, quickly forming a strong relationship with the summer signing.
Hector Bellerin and Kieran Tierney quickly became friends after the former Celtic man’s summer move. They were both young full-backs struggling with injuries at the time, so as Bellerin explained to the Arsenal website, they had something in common.
“My relationship with Kieran was really good from the start,” Bellerin said.
“I felt we kind of knew that a lot of people were expecting us to be a full-back unit, so we always joked about that which gave us a common ground from the start that we could share without even knowing each other.”
Past that initial shared experience of becoming a fan-favourite pairing, the two players then had to work together in the Arsenal medical centre and on the training pitches to get back to full fitness.
Bellerin feels Tierney’s positive attitude helped him try to do more as well.
“Kieran was good from the start,” the right-back continued. “He was also someone who pushed himself so hard from the get-go, from the first few training sessions with the rehab group.
“He made me push myself even further because he was hitting more speed than me. I was thinking, ‘No, this can’t happen, I need to run quicker than him’, then he would run quicker. If he wasn’t there, my rehab would’ve been very different because that offered me motivation and improvement.
“Every day I would think, ‘I can’t wait to get out there because I’m going to run quicker than him’. I think it’s great that you can build a relationship with someone purely on those basics: hard work and professionalism.”
The slow road to full fitness
Unfortunately, things haven’t quite worked out on the pitch so far. Tierney only made it to 12 appearances before his shoulder injury. Bellerin is in and out of the team at the moment with a niggling groin issue.
For the two of them, the current break actually provides a bit more time to work through the final stages of their most recent comebacks.
They’ll want to get out on the pitches and test themselves as soon as possible, of course. But a small positive is that the pressure is off for a few weeks.