Robert Pires says he loves Arsenal's Francis Coquelin

Francis Coquelin

Arsenal’s Francis Coquelin has made a lasting impression on Robert Pires.

Former Arsenal winger Robert Pires has said that he loves Francis Coquelin for his fighting spirit and has praised the player’s ability to offer a balance between defence and attack, The Sun reports.

Coquelin has been a key member of Arsenal’s first team since the start of 2015, appearing in almost every game and displaying great drive and aggression in the defensive midfield role.

The France international’s inclusion evidently coincided with the Gunners’ vast improvement on the pitch, a remarkable feat considering he spent the back end of 2014 on loan in the Championship.

Speaking to  The Sun, former Arsenal star Pires said that his French compatriot in an important member of the team and would have been an ideal partner for Patrick Vieira back in the day.

“I love this guy because he has very good spirit and he loves fighting. He’s French but he has an English mentality — and in this position you need that,” Pires explained.

“He’s a very good balance between defence and attack. He is important for the team. Imagine for 10 seconds Patrick Vieira and Coquelin together in midfield, in this moment or 10 years ago. That would be fantastic.”

The 24-year-old has proven a number of doubters wrong over the past year, and during that time you would be hard-pressed to find a better defensive midfielder in the Premier League.

Coquelin has started 10 Premier League matches this season, averaging 3.1 tackles, 2.9 interceptions and a 92.3% pass success rate per fixture.

The Frenchman has formed a fabulous midfield partnership with Santi Cazorla, boasting a fine balance between attacking creativity and defensive solidarity.

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