Francis Coquelin admits he was unsure about joining Arsenal

The midfielder joined when he was 16, but admits his first training session was like a war.

Speaking to the club’s official website, Arsenal midfielder Francis Coquelin has admitted that he very nearly didn’t join the club as a youngster.

The French midfielder linked up with the Gunners when he was just 16 years old, following a week-long trial, and has been at the club ever since.

He became a key player in Arsene Wenger’s side last season when he was surprisingly called back from a loan spell with Charlton Athletic, impressing in the troublesome defensive midfield role at the Emirates and making the position his own.

Coquelin has, however, admitted that he very nearly didn’t join at after being given a baptism of fire in his first training session.

“When I left Arsenal I wasn’t sure whether I would come back,” he told

“I remember my first training session with the first team and it was war. I said to the boss at the door when I left, ‘This is different!’ I remember seeing two players fighting in training, and I had an argument with Jens Lehmann as well and I was thinking, ‘Wow, where am I?’”

Despite having had reservations about joining the club, Coquelin will be glad he did after establishing himself as a Premier League regular over the past 12 months.

The Frenchman is now key to Arsenal’s side, with his defensive nous having helped the more attack-minded midfielders in the side to focus on getting forward and flourishing.

At just 24-years-old, he has a lot of improvement ahead of him as well, and if he continues to impress, is likely to be a mainstay of the Arsenal engine room for many years to come.

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