Francis Coquelin has been fantastic this season, and has shown us just what we’ve been missing in midfield. It wasn’t always an easy road for the Frenchman though, and he recently revealed how difficult it was starting out at Arsenal.
The 23-year-old claimed it was a shock to his system as he recounted the early stages of his Arsenal career, and his trial at London Colney in particular.
“I never trained with the first team in Laval. I saw [William] Gallas, Bac[ary] Sagna, [Gael] Clichy, from the French national team, and I was thinking: ‘What am I doing here?'” he said (via The Guardian).
He recalled one incident in particular, where he misunderstood a shout from former shot-stopper Jens Lehmann. The short tempered German berated him for ignoring his instructions, and left Coquelin confused and dumbfounded.
“He went absolutely crazy on me! I didn’t know what was happening,” he continued.
“I was thinking: ‘Is every training like this? It’s war in here!'”
The young midfielder took a long time to break into the team, but he finally made it this season. His rise since being recalled from his loan spell at Charlton Athletic has been absolutely meteoric, and he has quickly become a vital part of our setup.
It’s hard to see how we managed without him for so long, as it was clear we were seriously lacking a tough tackling defensive midfielder.