Luton defender relishes taking on the Premier League's top talents as he looks to return to his best

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Jamaican international back for the Hatters

​Town defender Amari’i Bell is eager to get back to the kind of levels he was showing earlier in the season while taking on some of the best players the Premier League has to offer, after making his return from injury recently.

Having been a huge part of the club’s promotion to the top flight, the Jamaican international went on to start the club’s first seven matches, before picking up a hamstring injury in the 2-1 defeat to Burnley.

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That saw him sit out the next five fixtures, returning for the 2-1 victory over Crystal Palace recently and then keeping his place for Saturday’s 3-1 defeat at Brentford, plus the heartbreaking 4-3 loss to Arsenal on Tuesday night.

Amari'i Bell heads an Arsenal attack away during the midweek defeat - pic: Liam SmithAmari'i Bell heads an Arsenal attack away during the midweek defeat - pic: Liam Smith
Amari'i Bell heads an Arsenal attack away during the midweek defeat - pic: Liam Smith

On what trying to get back up to speed in the highest tier of English football has been like, Bell, who was used as the left wingback with Alfie Doughty out, then dropping into the left sided centre half role once more against the Bees, starting in that berth in midweek, said: “That’s (wingback) a position where I like playing, so it has been good to get there and that position allows me to raise my fitness levels as well.

"I felt not so great the first game, felt better today (Saturday) and I’m just hoping in each game that I do play I can get better and better and feel fitter and fitter. I just want to get back to the levels that I was showing before.

“We’re losing players in key positions where we’re having to put players where it isn’t natural to them, but it’s always important to know other people’s roles and jobs, so if you are put there then you have to take that responsibility.”

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Bell hasn’t had it easy either, as when taking on Palace he was up against Michael Olise, who scored a fantastic equaliser and then having to try to stop Bees’ best attacker in Bryan Mbeumo on Saturday.

He was also up against Bukayo Saka at times in the midweek clash against the Gunners, but is relishing those kinds of tests, continuing: “I was feeling good in that aspect, I was quite pleased with that one v one duel (against Mbeumo). For me, I enjoy playing against good players as it allows me to be better.”

With Tom Lockyer and Carlton Morris going off at the Gtech Stadium the 29-year-old was also given the captain’s armband in the closing stages, something he enjoyed, adding: “That was the first time, despite the game it was good for me to be one of those leading players in the team.”