Hector Bellerin was more than happy to put his holiday on hold just to join up with Spain’s training squad for the European Championships and after an injury to Dani Carvajal opened the door to a late call-up the 21-year-old is keen to make his mark.
The Arsenal full back was brought into the squad after Real Madrid defender Carvajal picked up an injury in the Champions League final win against Atletico Madrid last month.
Bellerin made his senior Spain debut in a 3-1 friendly win over Bosnia in May and enjoyed a strong season with his club Arsenal, where Czech Republic internationals Petr Cech and Tomas Rosicky played.
“I was about to head off on holiday for the summer when one of my family phoned me,” he told UEFA.com. “They told me that (Spain coach) Vicente del Bosque had announced in a press conference that I’d be training with the group.
“To be with a provisional squad, instead of on vacation, was already a massive honour.
“But after the misfortune Dani Carvajal had in the Champions League final, the boss said that I’d be his replacement. Well, if you’d asked me a few weeks ago if this were possible I’d not have believed you.”
Spain open their Group D campaign against the Czechs in Toulouse later on Monday and Bellerin said his side would have to be wary of Cech and Rosicky, who was released by Arsenal last week after 10 years at the club.
“Petr, for us at Arsenal, is one of the most immense pluses we could have had this season. He’s got the Premier League record for clean sheets,” Bellerin added.
“He makes you feel safer with him behind you. He’ll be as important for the Czech Republic.
“Tomas is one of the most intelligent players around … His intelligence, his ability to find space and his crossing definitely make him one of the players we have to fear.
“Rosicky orchestrates the midfield and he’s a great player who’s quick on the ball and really clever, so we know we have to be very wary of him.”
Spain also face Turkey in Nice on June 17 before playing Croatia in Bordeaux four days later.