Hector Bellerin gives his verdict on replacement Tomiyasu as he reveals he's watched every Arsenal game since leaving

HECTOR BELLERIN has given his replacement Takehiro Tomiyasu the stamp of approval after helping fire Arsenal back into the top-four race.

Bellerin, 26, joined his boyhood club Real Betis on a season-long loan on deadline day last summer.

It was not a decision he took lightly, one that was heightened by the impacts of lockdown and quarantine that saw him crave his native Spain after over a decade in London.

And although Bellerin is still unsure what the future holds for him with his current Arsenal contract ending this summer, he is happy to see Gunners and right-back Tomiyasu do well.

Speaking on Ian Wright’s Spotify podcast ‘Wrighty’s House’, Bellerin said: "Arsenal are doing amazing and that makes me so happy. The player they got in my position – Tomiyasu – he is doing great. No hard feelings.

“It is beautiful to see because I still watch every game and I want the guys to do well. It’s how football goes. You need to see when it is your time and when it is not.

“I always said to the club if I leave this place I don’t want to leave you guys without anyone in my position or in a position when you guys can’t be in the best terms.

“I want the best for all of us. I have been at Arsenal for 10 years and I love this place. It worked out for everyone and that’s what truly shows me it was the right thing to do.



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“It makes me happy to see the boys doing well.”

Bellerin joined Arsenal as a 15-year-old from Barcelona’s youth team before going on to become a first team regular under former manager Arsene Wenger.

In recent years however, injury and a drop in form saw the Spanish-born right back fall down the pecking order with Unai Emery and then current boss Arteta.

Bellerin admitted Arteta was very 'understanding' when it came to making the difficult decision to leave.

On the conversation he had with his boss and former team-mate, the Spaniard said: “I spoke to Mikel way before my loan. We had a good friendship before as teammates and then as a coach and a player.

“I said: ‘Look I feel at this time I need something else and I don’t want to go anywhere to win a lot of money or anything. I just want to be close to my family and my country and live a better experience’.

“As a player it is not only about football. It is about many other things. After a decade in London, I felt like I needed another challenge. It wasn’t about money.

“It was going to a place where I could feel and see myself being happy.

“I was lucky that Mikel is someone who is very understanding. He knew it wasn’t to do with football or the club. As people we go through cycles in our life.

“It is not because I don’t want to play there anymore, it’s just because this is not helping any of us. When I know it’s not my place where I need to be, nothing works for each other.

“Mikel really understood that. He knows everything I have gone through at Arsenal. My injuries. Every episode.

“I was lucky I could be open with him and we had a talk and he understood fully. He said I want to help you as a coach but also as a friend.

“I was very happy Arsenal gave me that opportunity to find what I was looking for. I had it clear in my head what I needed and I am happy it is fulfilling itself.

“I am finally back enjoying football that I felt a few years ago. All this stuff is feeding me mentally to another level, and it shows because on the pitch everything is coming together.

“I don’t want any outside noise, but it is not easy at times.”

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