Arsenal's Francis Coquelin reveals who he has to thank for his resurgence

Coquelin

Francis Coquelin believes he wouldn't be in the Arsenal side without his Charlton loan stint.

Speaking to the club’s official website, Arsenal midfielder Francis Coquelin has paid tribute to Charlton Athletic for helping him prepare for Premier League action.

Coquelin, 23, had made just one League Cup appearance at left-back before joining Charlton on loan in November, going on to make five appearances for the Championship club.

Recalled just a month later due to a spate of injuries in the Arsenal squad, the Frenchman has since been involved in all eight top-flight games, starting the last five to earn widespread praise from fans and the media alike.

His recent resurgence coming as a surprise to even himself, the Gunners’ new star man said: “It’s weird because the way it happened was so sudden, so I didn’t expect it.

“I felt a little bit bad about Charlton because we had trained all week, were ready for the game and it was so sudden.

“It’s part of football and my [focus] went to the Newcastle game as soon as Arsenal called me. I tried to give my best when I came on.

“Without Charlton, I probably wouldn’t be here because I wasn’t performing that well but they gave me the chance to play and I wasn’t out of fitness when I came back. I think that helped me a lot.”

Arriving in north London from local side Stade Lavellois in 2008, Coquelin would spend the 2010-11 season on loan at Ligue 1 outfit FC Lorient, before going on to earn his Arsenal debut in the 8-2 thumping against Manchester United in August 2011.

The former France Under-21 international would struggle to break into Arsene Wenger's plans over the following campaigns, however, taking in a further season-long loan at SC Freiburg last term, before returning to the Emirates Stadium in the summer.

Now looking like he could the club’s long-term answer in the holding role, his recent performances have even earned him plaudits from Gunners legend and compatriot Thierry Henry.

“For me the best thing they’ve done is bring Coquelin back from Charlton,” the former striker told Sky Sports this week.

“Maybe if he hadn’t come back and played the way he did recently, Arsene would have gone and bought a defensive midfielder.

“He has been amazing, Arsenal don’t look like they will concede, they can score and he gave everyone protection everybody was talking about.

“Sometimes you look for that player and they are right in front of you. But the guy has matured, he went on loan, and knows he had to perform and he is doing it.”

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