Keown: I like that this Arsenal player is not afraid to upset his teammates

Coquelin

Former Arsenal star likes Francis Coquelin's approach.

Former Arsenal centre-back Martin Keown has told The Mail he likes the approach of breakthrough midfielder Francis Coquelin.

The Frenchman is at the peak of a remarkable comeback, having been sent out on loan to Charlton in November with his Arsenal career approaching a dead end.

He was recalled in early December, and has slotted into the defensive midfield role to great effect, playing a key role in their 2-0 away win over Manchester City.

Keown says he was particularly impressed with how vocal the 23-year-old is on the pitch, and his willingness to give orders on the pitch to teammates who are better established in the side. 

He said: "Coquelin is still young but there can be question marks when a player takes a while to break through and he’s certainly not proven himself yet, though I have been impressed, particularly by his will to win on the pitch.

"He barks instructions at players with far more experience than him and he doesn’t care about upsetting egos. I like that. He was immense protecting his defenders against City and did so well to encourage players to get back in alongside him."

Due to Coquelin having to wait to make his breakthrough, there's a perception that he is younger than he is, but he is only two years younger than Mesut Ozil, and the same age as Jack Wilshere. 

Despite his slow progression, there's no reason for him to be a shrinking violet on the pitch, and if he wants to hold down the defensive midfield position, taking an aggressive approach in all areas is what Arsenal need.

If they went out and bought a defensive midfielder, the new addition would be expected to have an fiery element in his game to command a key area of the pitch, and Coquelin is simply helping himself justify why he can be the answer. Crucially this appears to come naturally to him, and so often it is a trait which just can't be coached.

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