Arsenal's Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain highlights the reason for Francis Coquelin's breakthrough

Coquelin

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has hailed Francis Coquelin after seeing his fellow midfielder break into the Gunners line-up.

Arsenal midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has told the club’s official website that Francis Coquelin’s mental strength is the reason for his recent resurgence.

The pair made their debuts for the club in the same match, with the England international replacing the Frenchman in the 8-2 thumping at Manchester United in August 2011, but their paths went in different directions from there.

While Oxlade-Chamberlain would go on to establish himself as a core part of the first-team over the following seasons, Coquelin would struggle to break into manager Arsene Wenger’s plans, before spending the 2013-14 campaign on loan at SC Freiburg.

However, after taking in another short-term stint at Charlton Athletic in November, the defensive midfielder returned to the Emirates Stadium last month and has since carved out a regular role in the line-up.

Starting the past four Premier League games, his performances have earned him widespread praise from fans and the media alike, and Oxlade-Chamberlain believes it’s a just reward for his patience and perseverance.

“He's been really patient and I’m sure there’s been tough times for him since he’s been at the club,” he said. “I know everyone here has always known what a talent he’s been, it’s just been a case of the numbers and the type of personnel that we’ve had. It can be hard.

“As a young lad, sometimes you do feel the wrong end of that and those are the times when some people need to go out on loan to find their way.

“He’s been abroad and in the Championship but he’s never lost his quality and sometimes it’s all about luck and opportunities.

“In recent weeks we’ve seen it but the Manchester City game really showed how important he is and how good he is. Hopefully that will continue for him because it’s good for us as well."

Coquelin, 23, is out of contract in the summer, but his impact in recent weeks looks set to earn him a bumper new deal, with Wenger telling his press conference ahead of the weekend’s clash against Aston Villa: “On Coquelin, it’s 99 per cent sure that he will stay here.”

It remains to be seen whether the former France Under-21 international is the club’s long-term answer in the holding role, but there at least looks to be an important role for him in the squad moving forward.

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