Bellerin: I was frustrated Arsenal made me a defender

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The Spaniard admits he was initially reluctant to give up an attacking role, but concedes that the decision has helped him to shape a successful career.

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Hector Bellerin admits Arsenal’s decision to convert him to full-back on a permanent basis initially left him “frustrated”, but concedes that the right call was made for the good of his career.

The Spaniard is currently nursing an ankle problem and will play no part in the Gunners’ Premier League meeting with Manchester United on Saturday.

He has, however, become a key figure under Arsene Wenger, having made the most of unfortunate knocks to others during the 2014-15 campaign.

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Still only 21 years of age, Bellerin is fast closing in on 100 competitive appearances at club level, and already has three senior caps for his country.

Things could have been so different, though, had he not embraced the vision laid out for him at Emirates Stadium.

“It’s true, when I was at Barcelona I played as a winger,” Bellerin told Sport magazine.

“It was only in my last one or two years there that I played a few games at right-back – not more than five.

“But at one of them there was an Arsenal scout and they said: ‘Okay, this guy has to be a right-back.’ When Arsenal told me at the beginning, I was a bit frustrated – you know, thinking I like to be an attacker.

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“But soon I realised what their vision was for me, and how they saw me as a right-back.

“In the beginning, learning a new position is not easy. But I’m feeling comfortable now. I’m really happy with whoever’s idea that was, because maybe if I was still a winger I wouldn’t be where I am.”

While he has now adopted a defensive berth and made the right-back spot at Arsenal his own, his attacking instincts have not been entirely suppressed.

His upbringing has stood him in good stead, with modern football all about adventurous full-backs and those prepared to offer an overlapping presence down the flanks.

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It should therefore come as no surprise to find that Bellerin has shown himself to be the most productive defender in the Premier League over the last 18 months, with his wing play still very much on point.

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