Hector Bellerin: Arsenal's formation switch to 3-4-3 hasn't favoured me

Arsenal defender Hector Bellerin says the team's recent formation switch has not "favoured" him but he welcomes the increased competition for a starting spot.

Bellerin was Arsene Wenger's first-choice at right-back for nearly three seasons after breaking into the first team but saw his playing time limited after the manager switched to three at the back towards the end of last season, with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain preferred at wing-back.

Barcelona have reportedly shown an interest this summer but Arsenal have made it clear that the Spain international isn't for sale -- and Bellerin himself has his mind set on winning back a starting place at the Emirates.

"This season is about just making sure that I can hold my spot," Bellerin told the Arsenal Weekly Podcast. "It's been a tough season for the club and for me personally as well.

"I've been through a few injuries, and changing the system hasn't favoured me in the last few games. But obviously that is football, nothing comes easy and we have to adapt to every single situation."

Bellerin joined Arsenal from Barcelona's academy as a 16-year-old and broke into the first team when Mathieu Debuchy was injured during the 2013-14 season.

He had little competition for the right-back role since then as Debuchy has continued to struggle with injuries and Carl Jenkinson spent two seasons on loan. But he said the new fight with Oxlade-Chamberlain for the right wing-back position can only be a positive for his own development.

"It's really important to have someone in competition for your position. Because that's the way to make each other a better player," he said. "Sometimes when you don't have that competition you can relax and you can feel really comfortable, like I don't really have to train hard because I'm going to play anyway.

"That kind of thought process comes naturally, it's really hard to always be that aware and push yourself every single training session. But when you have someone trying to take your spot, it changes your mindset completely.

"Last season I didn't have that pressure, which in a way is also nice because you can play with more freedom maybe. But after the injury and changing the system, I'm not always a starter now. And I know I need to train 100 percent and I need to show the boss that I'm the right player to play at the weekend.

"And sometimes he's going to choose me and sometimes he's going to choose another player, that's up to him, but I've got to make sure that what I do is as much as I can."

Bellerin missed Arsenal's recent trip to Australia and China as he was still on holiday after helping Spain reach the Under-21 European Championship final, but returned to training this week. He could play in this weekend's Emirates Cup against Benfica and Sevilla as the team continues their preseason preparations.

He struggled with an ankle injury that sidelined him for several weeks last season, which he admitted affected him mentally as he had never had a long-term problem before.

"I'm not used to being on the sidelines. So for me it was kind of hard psychologically, because it was a new situation. You see your teammates play and you just sit in the stands and there's nothing you can do to help," he said. "It's a difficult situation, I can't even imagine when players get injured for nine, 10 months.

"It's hard but it's part of football and you need to know how to deal with it. For me it was something pretty new and it has been hard for me to overtake. Even when you recover from the pain, it's still a bit in your head: is it going to hurt if I do this, is it going to hurt if I do that?

"It's going past through that stage and you need to learn how to deal with those situations to make sure you're at your best all the time."