Arsenal academy star Hector Bellerin has claimed the team's support following Arsene Wenger's decision to take him off at half-time against Stoke City helped him to respond positively and deliver his best performance with the first team in the 4-1 victory over Newcastle United on 13 December.

Having moved to the Emirates Stadium in 2011 from the prolific Barcelona youth system, Wenger promoted Bellerin to the first-team squad in the summer following the departures of Bacary Sagna to Manchester City and Carl Jenkinson to West Ham.

The 19-year-old star took advantage of Mathieu Debuchy's injury earlier in the season to gain some first-team experience, making his debut against Borussia Dortmund in the first Champions League game of the campaign.

Bellerin has since played in the Champions League game against Galatarasary as well as four Premier League matches, three of them as a starter.

Nevertheless, during the disappointing 3-2 defeat against Stoke, the Spaniard was sacrificed by Wenger after the Gunners had conceded three goals in the first half.

Speaking about that with Arsenal's official website, Bellerin said: "Everyone's been really supportive after I was taken off at half-time.

"It's obviously the boss' decision and it was good because we scored twice after that but all the experienced players know when they need to help you and they've all been really supportive. Thanks to them, I had that reaction on Saturday."

Wenger handed him a chance in the starting 11 in the following Premier League game against Newcastle, with the Spaniard providing an assist to Olivier Giroud and showing his speed on the right-hand side.

Bellerin said: "Per [Mertesacker] said in a few interviews that I need to speak more and to be more communicative on the pitch. Santi [Cazorla] told me to play my game, forget about everything else and just enjoy myself on the pitch. That's what I've been taking on board and I think I'm doing it better."

The defender believes that after some games in the first team, he now has more freedom to express his full potential in the coming games and may be able to do so during the crucial game against Liverpool on Sunday 21 December.

"When you play your first games, you're just trying not to make a mistake. That's how you face it and then as you get more confident, you start playing the way you usually play," he said.

"You get the confidence from the players and the coaches around you and I feel more comfortable every time I get to play. So Saturday was definitely my best performance. It was thanks to all the people who have put confidence and trust in me because that's what actually lets you play freely."