Hector Bellerin has made his return from injury, playing for Arsenal’s Under-23s against Wolves on Friday night.
The Spanish right-back, 24, suffered a serious knee injury when playing against Chelsea in January, missing the rest of the 2018-19 season as well as the beginning of this campaign.
However, he has taken in his first competitive appearance since being sidelined, playing 62 minutes for the Gunners development side in the Premier League 2.
“After eight long months, I’m finally in the red and white, finally on the pitch,” Bellerin said in a video he posted to social media.
“It’s been a tough period, but I’ll be back better than ever, and I can’t wait to be at the Emirates.”
In Bellerin’s absence, Ainsley Maitland-Niles has made the right-back position his own, beating out competition from Stephan Lichtsteiner and Carl Jenkinson last term.
The pair have since departed the Emirates Stadium, with Lichtsteiner’s contract expiring and Jenkinson being sold to Championship side Nottingham Forest.
New signing Kieran Tierney, who joined on deadline day from Celtic this summer, also featured for Arsenal’s U23s on the opposite flank for the same time period as Bellerin after recovering from a hernia operation.
The 22-year-old left-back will provide a much-needed extra body on the left side of defence, with Nacho Monreal having been sold to Real Sociedad.
Tierney and Bellerin are expected to eventually claim starting roles ahead of Sead Kolasinac and Maitland-Niles and will significantly boost an ailing Gunners defence.
Additionally, Rob Holding is set to return alongside the full-back duo, having missed the second half of last season with a knee injury.
The Gunners did not lose a game in which the Englishman started last term, and manager Unai Emery will be relieved to be able to call on arguably three-quarters of Arsenal’s strongest possible defence.
The Spaniard’s position is starting to come under pressure after a dismal 2-2 draw against Watford last weekend, a game in which Arsenal threw away a 2-0 half-time lead, conceding a record number of shots in the process.
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