On-loan Arsenal defender Hector Bellerin has revealed how he came to the decision to go on loan to Real Betis ahead of other destinations. As tends to be the case with Bellerin, he refused to be a slave to convention.
Arriving from London late in the transfer window, Bellerin had never played for a club in his native Spain and was given the chance to do so under Manuel Pellegrini. Born in Barcelona and coming through the academy system at La Masia, Bellerin already had links to Andalusia through his family. The decision to join Betis was not a purely emotional one though, as he told La Media Inglesa.
“I applied big data when deciding which was the best club for me this pre-season, based on my way of playing, the type of manager and Betis was one of the top teams that came out top due to the way the manager likes to use full-backs and the trajectory of the team for the season.”
Bellerin has made 19 appearances in the league this season and has established himself as a regular in the team. Despite some tough moments, he has endeared himself to the fans at the Benito Villamarin.
“I don’t know what people will think, but the projection that was given to me by the big data was that Betis were going to have a very good year this season, so you can see how these machines work.”
“I have used it a lot for this type of thing, I think that statistics show everything but sometimes not the most important thing too though. I do feel that in some way, a player can affect the play in ways that aren’t calculable with numbers.”
Bellerin is clearly focused on getting the most out of his career and admitted that he used data to try and improve on a daily basis.
“I use big data most to look at the physical side of the game, to see if I’m still going in the right direction, to see if there is a match in which I’ve sprinted less and why. In the end, you can try and improve your game a little by doing so. The numbers are important and a good aid for managers and players, to improve, but football is more fluid than just numbers and you have to look at the effect of a player on the pitch from a wider perspective.