Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain says the Arsenal squad knew Francis Coquelin had the quality to succeed at the highest level and backed the French midfielder to maintain the good form that has earned him a new deal at the Emirates.
Coquelin has featured in nine consecutive games since returning from a short loan at Charlton with the Gunners losing only once – away at Southampton – during that run.
Speaking to the Arsenal official matchday programme ahead of the game with Aston Villa, Chamberlain underlined how pleased he is to see the 23-year-old seize his chance.
“He’s been really patient and I’m sure there’s been tough times for him since he’s been at the club.
“I know everyone here has always known what a talent he’s been, it’s just been a case of the numbers and the type of personnel that we’ve had. It can be hard.
“As a young lad, sometimes you do feel the wrong end of that and those are the times when some people need to go out on loan to find their way.
“He’s been abroad and in the Championship but he’s never lost his quality and sometimes it’s all about luck and opportunities.
“Since he’s come back, he’s taken his opportunities, he’s taken his chances to show how good he is and now I see him as a big part of our team. He is a really influential and key part to our success, especially at Manchester City.
“In recent weeks we’ve seen it but the Manchester City game really showed how important he is and how good he is. Hopefully that will continue for him because it’s good for us as well.”