Mikel Arteta has sent a message of support to Arsenal’s on-loan midfielder Marcelo Flores following his struggles at Real Oviedo this season.
The 19-year-old joined Arsenal’s academy in 2019 and is regarded as one of their brightest prospects for the future.
Despite not making a first-team appearance for Arsenal, Flores already has three caps for Mexico’s national team and had been pushing for a place in their squad.
But Flores has endured a tough start to his loan spell with Real Oviedo in Spain’s Segunda Division.
The midfielder has started just three league games for Oviedo, who sacked their manager Jon Perez Bolo this week following a run of eight games without a win.
Arteta, however, is adamant that remaining at Oviedo during the club’s struggles will help Flores’ development.
‘It’s a very good opportunity for him,’ Arteta said ahead of Arsenal’s Europa League clash with PSV on Thursday.
‘Whatever minutes he plays, the experience is going to be very enriching.
‘When you go on loan, you have to go through good times and others not so good. What you have to do is adapt and earn your place.
‘A lot of times it’s not easy or as easy as it seems. I think it’s an important step for him.’
Speaking last month, Oviedo’s president, Martin Pelaez, insisted that Flores needed time to develop.
‘We forget that he is 18 years old,’ Pelaez told ESPN.
‘Marcelo, as much as he was educated at Arsenal, is now here with us and all this is part of his process. He now has to gain experience and it is important in his training and his growth,
‘We have a contract with him until May or June and we want him between two or three years with us.
‘We have a vast squad and it’s a long league with 42 games and the coach must rotate the squad and now he doesn’t have the ones he would like, but he [Flores] will surely have more minutes.’
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