Coquelin: How I became tough enough for Arsenal

The defensive midfielder has finally earned his place in the first team and feels spending time away from the luxuries of a big club helped him grow as a footballer

Francis Coquelin has attributed his promotion to Arsenal's first team to the loan moves he secured between 2010 and 2014.

Coquelin joined the Gunners' youth ranks in 2008 before being shipped off to Lorient, Freiburg and Charlton, and the midfielder believes that spending time outside of north London was pivotal in his rise to the first team.

"It was a great learning experience,” the Mirror quote the 24-year-old as saying. “Arsenal is a great club - a massive club. But you are kind of in a comfort zone as it is such a big club.

"To go away, go abroad and see a different culture and different football helped me a lot and I came back stronger.”

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Having seized his chance to shine, Coquelin has quickly earned a reputation as a key player in Arsene Wenger's squad, and the player himself says he always believed his hard work would pay off.

"I always had belief in myself, I didn't think it would happen that quickly,” he added. “I was on loan quite a few times but when I went back I always had my belief.

"When the manager gave me my chance I grabbed it with both hands and just did the maximum I could to help the team."