Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger does not want full-back Hector Bellerin to play for Spain in this summer’s Under 21 European Championships.
The 22-year-old picked up an ankle injury in November and has struggled to regain full fitness since, but is likely to be a key feature for Albert Celades’ side in the tournament in Poland.
“It is not ideal after a long season,” Wenger told his press conference.
“He should have a rest and prepare for next season. The Spanish players love to play for their country, and I think he will go as he loves to play for Spain.
““He has not come back to his level since he has been injured, I think for a while he was [still feeling his ankle].
“Then you get bad habits, and you forget that your job first is to defend and win challenges, because you protect yourself a little bit.
“Then you realise you have to come back. I think now he is trying to focus on again what is important, to defend well. After he can give us that extra bit that is important as well. I agree that for a while he was not the Hector Bellerin we had seen at the start of the season.”