Hector Bellerin is finally rediscovering his rhythm, according to Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta, who also hailed the full-back’s influence in the dressing room.
The 25-year-old suffered a serious knee injury at the start of 2019 which saw him miss nine months of action.
It was the first time Bellerin had missed a prolonged spell, but the Spain international is now a regular under Arteta, starting every Premier League game so far this season.
He is likely to return to the side for Sunday’s visit of Aston Villa, having been rested for the Europa League win over Molde, with Arteta highlighting Bellerin’s recent improvements.
“I think when you have a big injury like that it can take almost a year for your brain to reset and accept that injury and biomechanically become the same player,” he said.
“After that you have to recover and rediscover those performances, that consistency in the minutes you are able to play, which is something he has struggled with in recent years, but when something starts to get more natural, you start to get the flow.
“He is more confident, he is playing regularly, he is able to do more things, he ends the game in a much better way physically and he recovers better.
“What happens, happens, but his performances are getting better and better.”
Bellerin is the longest-serving player in Arsenal’s squad. He made his first-team debut in 2013, having signed for the club after coming through the youth ranks at Barcelona.
Arteta believes having a player who has such long-standing ties to the Gunners can only be a good thing in his attempts to bring consistent success back to north London.
“Yes, absolutely,” he replied when asked if it was important to have players who have been through harder times at Arsenal.
“As well as that it is about the characters we need in the dressing room and Hector is a key figure in that, in my opinion.
“He is a player who has special feelings towards the club because he has been here a long time and he is very grateful for all the coaches, the staff, the club and the fans have done for him.
“He is always willing to pay that confidence back, that respect back and that loyalty back. It is something you need in our dressing room because at the end of the day that is the habit of this football club.”