Hector Bellerin has credited former teammate and current Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta for helping him turn his career around, according to the Daily Mirror.
Arteta was a member of the Arsenal first team when Bellerin made his debut for the club in 2013. The former Manchester City assistant manager became the captain of the North London club in 2014 and Bellerin has admitted that Arteta was a huge influence on him as a young player.
In a revealing documentary called Unseen Journey which is about his time at Arsenal and in particular, his recovery from his anterior cruciate ligament injury which kept him out of the side for a year, he said:
“I’d only been at Arsenal for a couple of years, Mikel was one of the captains in the dressing room, he was part of this Spanish speaking group that we had and he really did look after me.”
“When I was young, I was a bit naughty, started getting money, I started meeting girls, started going out, all these things that everyone does at that age.”
“But not everyone has the responsibility that I had at that time, starting to play for Arsenal first team.”
“He was like a big brother, when I did something wrong, he looked at me and I was like: ‘Oh, I shouldn’t have done that.’ Sometimes you need people to be honest with you.”
Arteta returned to the club as head coach in December 2019 and is now the Arsenal manager. Bellerin has worn the captain’s armband in the absence of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang on occasion since the start of last season and the 25-year-old talked about what an honour it was to skipper the side. He said:
“For me, it’s an absolute honour, I feel so lucky when I put this armband on. My way of leading is leading by example and being good to everyone around and make everyone feel part of our family.”
“For me, too, to be chosen as vice-captain is a great honour and it gives me goosebumps every time I get to wear the armband and every time I get to step out on the pitch and lead my team mates.”
The Arsenal right-back could have left the club last summer with Paris-Saint Germain showing a serious interest in the player. It is understood that Arteta intervened and made it clear to Bellerin that he was an important part of his project in North London.