Arsenal news: ‘It’s one of the best feelings’ – Bellerin delight at injury return

The France international wore the captain’s armband as he made his long-awaited Gunners comeback

Hector Bellerin says “it’s one of the best feelings” to be fit again and has returned a “better player” after making his first Arsenal start in more than nine months.

The France international captained the Gunners in their 4-0 Europa league win against Belgium outfit Standard Liege at Emirates Stadium on Thursday evening.

The 24-year-old has been sidelined since January after suffering a ruptured cruciate knee ligament during a Premier League match against Chelsea.

He returned to action as a 77th-minute substitute in the 5-0 Carabao Cup third round win against Nottingham Forest last week before playing the full game against Standard.

Speaking after the game, Bellerin expressed his delight to be back on the field again and also feels his long rehabilitation means he returns as a better footballer.

“It’s one of the best feelings to be back,” he told BT Sport. “It has made me more mature, it has made me a better player I am so thankful for everyone around me, they have made it easier for me and I am now happy to be back playing football.”

It was a victorious return for Bellerin, with 18-year-old Brazilian forward Gabriel Martinelli scoring twice in a 4-0 win for the Gunners.

Martinelli also set up Dani Ceballos for his first Arsenal goal with Joe Willock also on target in what was a comfortable evening for Unai Emery’s side.

The win moves the north London club six points clear at the top Group F with two wins from two.

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“The team had a great performance,” added Bellerin. “It’s a very important win for us. We played 100% and wanted to get more goals.

“We wanted to press, the team is hungry, the team wants to win and wants to improve and I am very pleased for the boys.”

Speaking about goalscorer Martinelli, who joined Arsenal from Ituano for £6 million ($7.4m) this summer, Bellerin said: “He has been a player, he keeps his head down, he works really hard, he is doing what the coach wants him to do and it shows on the pitch. Everyone is really pleased for him.”

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