Arsenal star Héctor Bellerín is ready to show Arsène Wenger he deserves to remain as the first-choice right-back next campaign – ahead of Mathieu Debuchy – after an impressive and "unexpected" breakthrough into the first team.
The former Barcelona academy player began the campaign as the third-choice right-back after Wenger bolstered his squad with both Debuchy and the promising Calum Chambers from Newcastle and Southampton, respectively.
However, after making his Arsenal début against Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League earlier in the season, Bellerin took advantage of the injuries of Debuchy to become one of the sensations of the campaign.
The 20-year-old Spaniard made 28 appearances in his début campaign at the Emirates Stadium and played as a starter in the FA Cup final 4-0 victory over Aston Villa on 30 May.
Asked by IBTimes UK after the final to review his first season in the Premier League and his hopes ahead of an expected battle with Debuchy for the starting role, he said: "Next year I'll face the season with the same mentality.
"I will work hard and let's see if the manager keeps trusting in me every game. I will continue fighting for a place in the line-up as I have done throughout this year.
"The truth is that everything has been very unexpected for me this year. I am very happy for the surprise and for having had the chance to finish the season helping the team to win a title as a starting player.
"There is no better way to end a season than with a trophy. We have fought very hard to get the cup. We approached the game with confidence and things have gone well."
Bellerin believes that both he and the Gunners have made progress during the season, but says there is still room for improvement.
Asked why the team didn't fight for the Premier League or progress further in the Champions League, he said: "Those mistakes early season were crucial.
"The next season we have to start stronger, playing as we have done during the second part of this campaign and I am sure things will go even better.
"I am sure those mistakes will serve as lessons for the future, so we don't miss opportunities to win more titles."