Hector Bellerin has not quite been himself since he returned from his serious knee injury and Mikel Arteta was asked about the defender at his press conference this week.

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - JUNE 25: Hector Bellerin of Arsenal heads the ball during the Premier League match between Southampton FC and Arsenal FC at St Mary's Stadium on June 25, 2020 in Southampton, United Kingdom. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND – JUNE 25: Hector Bellerin of Arsenal heads the ball during the Premier League match between Southampton FC and Arsenal FC at St Mary’s Stadium on June 25, 2020 in Southampton, United Kingdom. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

Ahead of Arsenal’s trip to Bramall Lane to face Sheffield United in the FA Cup quarter-final on Sunday, Arteta was grilled on Bellerin’s form with concerns growing as to whether the player will ever be able to regain the explosive pace that made him such a dangerous player.

“As you said, he’s had a lot of injuries in the past season that hasn’t allowed him to be very consistent, even in training or in the games that he’s played,” Arteta answered.

“And obviously when that happens your level of consistency in performance will always drop. But the effort that he puts in, the commitment that he shows to the club and the players is always at the top. And his performances can improve, of course they can, and he’s trying hard to do that. We are here to help him.”

BRIGHTON, ENGLAND - JUNE 20: Hector Bellerin of Arsenal appeals to referee Martin Atkinson during the Premier League match between Brighton & Hove Albion and Arsenal FC at American Express Community Stadium on June 20, 2020 in Brighton, England. Football Stadiums around Europe remain empty due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in all fixtures being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
BRIGHTON, ENGLAND РJUNE 20: Hector Bellerin of Arsenal appeals to referee Martin Atkinson during the Premier League match between Brighton & Hove Albion and Arsenal FC at American Express Community Stadium on June 20, 2020 in Brighton, England.  (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

Now 25, Bellerin is no longer a youngster and should be entering into the prime of his playing career. In my head, like many others, he’s still very much a kid even though that’s not the case.

This season, he’s made a total of 19 appearances across all competitions with one goal and two assists in 1,504 minutes.

While the start of his season was disrupted by his knee injury and then the predictable hamstring problem that often follows such a long lay-off, he has featured in the last eight Arsenal matches, playing the full 90 in seven of them.

He has also played every minute for Arsenal since football returned and that really is the only way to regain consistency.

Hopefully, he can regain his pace as well.