Arsenal's Hector Bellerin set to defy Arsene Wenger and join up with Spain Under-21s this summer

James Benge
Bellerin was confined to the bench for much of Sunday's win over Manchester City: Arsenal FC via Getty Images

Arsenal defender Hector Bellerin is prepared to flout Arsene Wenger’s wishes and join up with the Spain Under-21 squad for this summer’s European Championships.

Bellerin has been a regular in the Arsenal side for much of this season but struggled to regain his best form after returning from an ankle injury during the autumn.

Wenger contended in his press conference on Friday that Bellerin was still not over that particular injury – a factor which would go some way to explaining his recent slump in form – and said that a summer of tournament football would not be “ideal” for the youngster.

However Bellerin, who would still be eligible for the tournament despite having turned 22 and is a regular presence with La Rojita, made clear that if the call comes from Spain’s U21 coach Albert Celades he will not refuse.

“I really want to play,” he told IBTimes. “Representing Spain is very important. If Celades gives me the chance I'll be there.

“Those are opinions of the managers. I have to keep working. The truth is that I had a difficult injury but I think that I am at 100% now and I'll try to prove it when I get the chance.”

The 22-year-old has been the one to make way as Wenger has switched for a 3-4-3, with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain taking the right wing-back role in 2-1 victories over Middlesbrough and, in Sunday’s FA Cup semi-final, Manchester City.

​Bellerin was introduced as a substitute in extra time but for the first time since establishing himself in the Arsenal squad during the tail end of the 2014-15 season the Spaniard may have to come to terms with not being a regular in Wenger’s starting XI.

“With the change of the formation there are other players who also have the opportunity to do well,” Bellerin admitted. “Oxlade-Chamberlain has proven it [against City] and he has done it very well. Now I am waiting for my chance.”

He may get that opportunity against Leicester on Wednesday, when Arsene Wenger is expected to shuffle his side slightly with one eye on Sunday's North London Derby at White Hart Lane.

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