Arsenal head of academy Andires Jonker believes Hector Bellerin’s commitment to the Gunners academy has made him the player he is today.
The defender was recently named in Vicente del Bosque 23-man squad for the Euro 2016 after impressing on his debut against Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Bellerin has been at Arsenal since he was 16 and Jonker revealed that, despite his meteoric rise in the past two seasons, the 21-year-old has remained grounded, reports the Arsenal website.
‘When we play in Europe and share a plane with the first team after winning our game, Hector’s one of the ones who comes to the back of the plane to congratulate the academy players on their victory,’ Jonker said.
‘There you can see his commitment to the academy. He has not forgotten where he comes from and that is a different story. Foreign players can only come in after their 16th birthday, and Hector has been here since he was 16.
Jonkers believes that if an academy players trains with the senior team and does well, he will get a chance to prove himself in the first team.
‘While you’re at Colney, you’re a potential candidate to train with the first team,’ he added.
‘Every single day, four or five players from the academy practise with the first team. Everybody who is performing better than a first-team player gets a chance.
It’s good for me to know and it’s one of the reasons I joined this club, but for these players it’s a huge possibility to have this opportunity. They know that at Arsenal they will get a chance in the first team,’ the Academy manager said.
This season Bellerin has help Arsenal to a second place finish on the Premier League table, making 44 appearances, netting a goal and picked up eight assist in all competitions.