Wenger: Coquelin’s rise is a great example

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Arsene Wenger says Francis Coquelin’s willingness to make the most of his comparatively narrow skillset should be an inspiration for all aspiring footballers.

The Frenchman’s aggression, quick distribution and discipline have all caught the eye since his surprise inclusion away at West Ham on 28 December with the Gunners since winning 17 of the 22 games he’s appeared in.

Speaking at a Barclays event (quotes via Arsenal.com), the boss shed light on his young compatriot’s breakthrough year at Arsenal praising the 23-year-old’s patience following six years as a slow-burner at the Emirates and beyond.

“I explained to him that what I liked most was his ball-winning potential rather than his playmaking potential, so I sent him out on loan to France for experience,” revealed the boss. “He played without being convincing in the box-to-box role.

“He then went to Charlton and I sent somebody to watch him. The reports were positive and I called him back after five weeks, and he wasn’t happy. I said to him, ‘why are you not happy?’ and he said, ‘I was playing regularly for Charlton and you called me back just to cover and not to play me’.

“We went into the first game and I didn’t start him. Then we went to West Ham United and I started him. He was surprised because we played at home against QPR and I didn’t play him, but I did away at West Ham.

“Since then, he has not moved out of the team because he sticks to what he is strong at – winning the ball and using it well. What is also surprising is that he’s very good in the air because he has a very good leap.

“I always remind him that we have gone through a long period of suffering and I tell him not to forget that – always remember who you are. That is a very great example for young kids because you make a career with one dominant quality, but sometimes you forget who you are.

“He’s a good example but the other good example is that he arrived at 17 and has finally made it at 24. It’s unbelievable how patient and open-minded you have to be.”

Until Coquelin’s revelatory performances the overwhelming belief on the terraces was that Arsene Wenger needed to buy a defensive midfielder to compete with Mathieu Flamini and Mikel Arteta. The number one candidate in January was Southampton’s Morgan Schneiderlin; a player who continues to be linked despite the rise of our Coq.

ESPN.co.uk report today that Arsenal have already made contact with Southampton stating their eagerness to sign 25-year-old French international this summer. Schneiderlin has been at St Mary’s for seven years but has repeatedly hinted in recent months that he’d be open to moving to a bigger club.

No doubt this is a story that will gain even more traction once silly season gets out of first gear…

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cygan'sbaldspot

Story of the season. Him and Bellerin.

WengersNoseHair

And Brown Ideye.

Nigerian

And Sanchez too, methinks

GreekTragedy

Does anyone here not love the coq?

SG_Gooner

bellerin could have been challenging coq for the right back slot! coq played right back for for back then right?

192AndNotOut

Surely 192 “thumbs up” and no discenting voices must be some sort of record for the decade?

LA

Can’t believe a glorious chance to make a Coq related pun has been spurned. ‘Wenger: My Coq has risen to the challenge’. It was right there to be had! Frankly I’m surprised at you Blogs…..

Third Plebeian

Um. The title?

lolcat

like if he is THE dm we were looking for, thumbs down if you think we will/need to buy from outside the club (interested in popular opinion)

cygan'sbaldspot

I think we were all a bit skeptical when he came back from charlton, but I think he’s shown in EVERY game he’s played since that he is definitely the right guy for the job. I love the way he bossed city’s Fernand’s around the park and the same with that vagrant Fellaini. Arsenal DM for years to come. I just don’t know if wenger will look for a back-up in the summer. Thoughts?

Nigerian

I agree. I think he has definitely earned the right to be considered Arsenal’s no 1 DM. If we insist on strengthening, I would prefer looking for a back up for Coquelin (in case of injury), rather than a replacement.

gooner

what amuses most about the coq story is the “we were all shocked how good he is ” some fans throw around easily. Truth is some fans saw how good he was or how promising he looked but there was no way we would develop him, Ramsey (who was struggling badly at the time) Chamberlain and frimpong ( when he still had an option of playing for England) I strongly believe he took his chances well back then and quite a few other fans thought so but it had to come down to who the manager opted to stick with.… Read more »

gar14

I’m confused. Are you suggesting that Wenger didn’t give him a chance because he wasn’t british? Apologies if that is not what you’re saying.

CB

Wenger hates the French.

oursenaul

He “said” everything that is written in his post…

gar14

“my guess was that he had the wrong passport at the wrong time or right passport in the wrong Wenger era”

Just want him to clarify this line. Because I don’t get it

Alexa Nielsen

@CB What am i missing here? Are you actually being serious that Wenger doesnt like the french? With Giroud, Koscielny, Debuchy, Coquelin, Diaby and Flamini on the team who are french, I can’t see how you would think he hates the french. lol He has been accused of leaning more towards french players not away from them.

CB

He is French himself, married to a French wife with French daughter. All the players above plus Henry, Pires, Cygan, Vieira, Petit, Grimandi….

Dick Swiveller

The thing is though, there is a big difference between showing potential and then being a lynchpin of the midfield. So, there’s a whole sliding scale between those who thought he might be good, to those who thought he didn’t, taking in both blind optimism and blind pessimism on the way.

To put it another way, the people who were certain that Coquelin would make it here were probably certain that Frimpong would too. I’d separate Rambo from there though, because he was cementing his place in the first team and earning rave reviews when he was Shawcrossed, big difference.

Stillmatic

I’ve been a long time Coq fan since academy days (one of my academy favs….alomg with JET and a few other failures, loll). But even then was absolutely shocked as to why Frimpong was given more of a chance than Francis. It was a joke. Even at academy level, Coq was far more promising. And Frimpong was an idiot even then, doing some stupid things. Only reason why Coq was ever considered a B2B CM was one he had to partner with Frimpong and thus played the CM role whilst Mr. Dench played the DM role. Outside of that, Francis… Read more »

adriano

In my opinion coq used to play too casually back then in midfield(not rb). I was often frustrated that he would seem to be conserving his energy All the time, walking or slowly jogging. Only running when necessary. I know that sounds weird but it’s what I noticed at the time. I would always think to myself “why can’t he be more like matuidi and hustle a bit more”. Now he seems to be doing it.

Dick Swiveller

Fair enough, it was a pretty sweeping generalisation tbf.

I still don’t entirely understand how a guy of JET’s size with decent technical ability hasn’t done more, if I’m honest; problem’s in the head, I guess.

Less rambly Pete

I think most of us have been guilty of bashing our Coq at one point or another.

Seriously though I’m chuffed for him. Long may his form continue. But I do see that as a position where further competition wouldnt be a bad thing.

Rohith J

I think Wenger won’t consider Schneiderlin anymore. 25 m for someone who won’t necessarily be starting every match? Even if Arteta, Flamini and Rosicky are moved on, we still have the Ox who is supposed to play there in the long term according to Wenger. Chambers who can play there and also as a back up CB although I haven’t seen the required skill sets from him to play there. But if he can do a Coquelin or a Cazorla by playing to his strengths at CM, then we will have a very balanced squad.

ThurrkeyOnRye

I know I’m not playing football manager but what about Lucas biglia? We were linked with him several years back and I’m sure wenger has kept an eye on him as lazio rise in the tables. They’re no European juggernauts so a fee could be levied. He plays between the cb, has great distribution, knows how to keep the ball (and draw a foul), receives the ball with his back to goal. I’m sure playing in serie a gave him some tactical nous. Not sure about his defensive positioning or interception. Or how he plays if he’s being marked out.… Read more »

paul35mm

When in doubt, bet on an attacking midfielder coming in.

Third Plebeian

He is the destroyer we’ve wanted, yes. But that shouldn’t preclude a move for Schneiderlin, who would be fantastic alongside him.

Gargoyle

If Schneiderlin were to come to Arsenal to play alongside Coquelin, then we’re looking at Ramsey, Ox, Cazorla, Ozil, Wilshere, Walcott, Welbeck and Sanchez battling for three positions.

Dick Swiveller

Four positions surely? Two in midfield and two out wide, I don’t think you can presume that Schendierlin/Coq combo would play every game.

Third Plebeian

Yes, Dick, that’s my thinking as well. Sometimes they would play together, sometimes only one would, depending on the opposition and formation.

oursenaul

Not surely. Did you read his comment? If they play together that leaves 3 positions open. That’s what he’s talking about -If.

arsebagh

No. Because, unfortunately, cazorla and Theo are most likely gone if he comes.

Stillmatic

If there’s one type of player arsenal doesn’t need more of, is CM.

Paul

How about left back! 🙂

Paul

Sorry I meant “right back” ( had my phone upside down! 🙂

aloha

Injuries happen. Suspensions. People get tired. We need competitive cover for the position.

NWgooner

I don’t view these as mutually exclusive perspectives. If his nose had bent just a little further in any one of those nasty aerial challenges we’d be down one Coq and starting the Flamster at DM. I think we need a buffer of higher quality, but not an outright replacement. He’s earned his starting spot.

gnda

I love Coq, but I reckon Schneiderlin is a better player, he would be a great buy.

joonwi

Need another dm just to have depth at dm position and for healthy competition. Wouldn’t mind schneiderlin, sissoko (who has interest in arsenal if I’m right), kondogbia, wanyama. But coq has been massive for us!

adriano

Sissoko is a purely attacking player, far from a DM.

Eurazian

I’d be happy for him to hold down the DM spot for years to come, but remember, one injury to him and we are back where we started. We would do well to get another DM to both compete with him and also play alongside him. In that respect Schneiderlin is a good bet. He plays a more box-to-box role with Southampton and so would work well next to the Coq, but could also play instead of him. Of course that has consequences for the playing time of Ramsey and particularly Wilshere. In a way I’d feel sad after Coq’s… Read more »

SB

I’m impressed and happy at Le Coq’s raise! However don’t forget he came in mid-season surprising everyone even Wenger. Its always harder when the surprise element is gone. I’ll reserve my judgement to the Q if the Coq is the long term ans to our DM needs. So for the upcoming window this remains a position to be looked at and not be sentimental (Arteta) about spoiling a potential (Chambers). Coq is the incumbent of the position, he needs a challenger like Ospina came in to challenge Szcz. Not to forget the attrition due to injuries and the need for… Read more »

Bkgooner43

Wenger clearly wants credit for the Coq’s…erm…ascension, while haters deemed it an accident. either I’m glad it worked out for the kid.

Jagger

Not sure where Wenger implies that Coq’s rise is a testament to his (Wenger’s) ability. What I understood was that Wenger wanted Coq to do a specific thing for the team, namely breaking up play, and he won’t play Coq until he sees that. The recall, certainly, was done in fortuitous circumstances, but Wenger admits as much with his line, “It’s unbelievable how patient and open-minded you have to be”, which, I think, applies to both manager and player.

Stillmatic

I think the doubts about that is because for many years Wenger has always said quite publicly in the face of massive crow and media pressure, why he never wants a specialist DM to just sit there and protect the midfield. This is why he even converted Song from a DM and asked him to go forward even more, making it clear he likes all his CMs to attack and defend. So to now say he only wanted Francis to be a DM contradicts all his previous statements about not wanting a DM. Seems rather suspect, that’s all. I’m willing… Read more »

Jagger

I don’t recall Wenger ever saying that he does not want a specialist DM in his team. Do you have quotes?

Stillmatic
Dick Swiveller

Yeah, there are so many things we do right to develop a player, it’s ultimately up to them and a bit of serendipity to get and take their chance, but the development isn’t down to luck at all.

GOONERSMURF

wenger deserve credit for his rise. he did spot him, he did buy him and he did bring him to arsenal.

el_bahja

All hail the COQ

santori

Particularly to the likes of Campbell who may find himself in similar situation this coming season. Worth reminding those with short term memory that Coquelin came good for us at 23yrs which is about the same age as Campbell. It is also around this age when Nasri, Fabregas, Walcott, Ramsey and the Ox started to show their real potential. Henry slightly earlier at 22yrs. I’m therefore always amazed how people are so quick to pass judgement on younger players so quickly, particularly Sanogo. We have a number of players in the youth ranks that will take another 2-3 seasons to… Read more »

Dick Swiveller

I agree with the sentiment, but given the Ox is only 21 I’m not sure he fits in there as proof of players maturing at 23.

Rohith J

Also, there really is a beast of a player in the Ox. You just can feel it when he does those marauding runs of his!

Stillmatic

I think whatever chance and role Campbell may have will be taken by Wellington Silva.

Coq Au Vin

Happy accident or managerial genius, I don’t give a fuck. Next year’s shirt is gonna have my favourite dish on the back!

Gunnanarama

Kinda wish I’d thought of that 😉

paul35mm

Coquelin’s emergence may have been half necessity and half accident, but being open minded about players and sticking with his own men first are characteristics Arsene Wenger has, sometimes to a fault. In the last few years there have been deafening demands for Arsenal to part ways with Giroud, Ramsey, Wilshire, Arteta, Abou Diaby, Rosicky, Szczesny, Ozil, and Cazorla, Lately Theo Walcott is the name being pushed around by the discontented as someone that must go. Arsene Wenger stuck by them all. Even now, Abou Diaby is with the team and if he gets fit and stays fit, it is… Read more »

David

as good as coq has been this season, we have as backups Flamini (who isnt rly bad but i dont find to be the most reliable backup), and an aging Arteta (unlike some people, even if we sing another DM i’d keep him in the team cuz he is class, a good role model and a very good football player), giving we let go one of those (probably flamini), i’d say yes, we could always try to get another DM, competition for spots is good, and giving our injury record is never bad to have adequate cover

Alexstratz

“That is a very great example for recent big clubs because you win some trophies with one dominant sugar daddy, but sometimes you forget who you are.”

He's a Gooner

Love the coq, think he’s shown this season that he is a great destroyer and I feel he 100% deserves to start next season. Ideally I think we should get a player that can cover for both him and cazorla (a young artetaesque man would be ideal I feel) but I know that is a hard task.

WengersNoseHair

So Manure have signed Depay. Time to nick Januzaj from those cunts, methinks. They’ve already forgotten how he carried them through parts of last season. Now Van Gaal is letting him rot on the bench, and bringing in all his Dutch boys. I’m sure Wenger could turn him into a class player.

SoqedHozi

Bit divey though isn’t he?

WengersNoseHair

Wenger will whip it out of him. Januzaj is class you gays. We need to nick him NOW.

Dick Swiveller

It’s more the ‘not being as good as he thinks he is’ that would be the issue imo, a bit of pace and tekkers is enough to do it when you get the United protection from refs but if he was here then he’d just get shrugged off the ball, if it’s a choice betweeen him and Gnabry there is only one winner.

Coq Au Vin

Thanks but no thanks mate.

Dylan

“We have gone through a long period of suffering and i tell him not to forget that always remember who you are” Class.

jzay

i dont think another backup for dm position is needed now,because we already have a backup in krystian beliek

GoonerSwede

16 year old kid as backup? If the idea is to win the title it will take a little more than that.

Messiah10

I think Coq’s done more than enough to earn his place in the first 11 come august. He’s certainly played a big part in the second half “resurgence” this season. It’s difficult to spot any “DM’S” out there currently who are playing at the level Coq is right now. A lot of talk about Scheiderlin but personally I can’t see Wenger paying 18 mill plus for his services. I expect to see the standard up and coming Frenchie brought in to provide competition for Coq and Arteta. Doesn’t make sense to spend big as Bielik isn’t too far away from… Read more »

AN other

Only Wenger can find, hone and persevere a young talent like this. Its credit to him as well as coqueline that a difficult position like this has been filled so gracefully.

gordy

He’s been an absolute revelation. Actually I think it’s been a good season, whatever happens in the next three weeks. The wins over Gallatasary, Borussia, Villa and Newcastle at home, City and United away and the home win against Liverpool was great, fantastic atmosphere.

Arsene's Little Helper

Le Coq, Arteta, Flamini, Wilshere(to some extent) + Bieliek( Hope this is right) Would do justice. If we sign a DM, Bieliek’s growth may hinder. Best, Throw him in the first team, and play him in FA’s and Carling’s. So, in next two years, Our Coq would have grown too big to pretty much stop anything, and a taller coq is ready to block even more.

Loving the Options! COYG

rex

as far as dm position goes, whomever we get should be back up to our Coq……. whomever!

Gunnersaurus

I can’t help feel that people only think Schneiderlin is is better than Coquelin because other people say he is, there is little difference in their stats game to game. It’s not like Schneiderlin has been playing at the highest level his whole career either, only a few years ago he was playing with Southampton in League 1…

AnonymousGun

Grass always green on the other side.

GOONERSMURF

Le Coq’s time is now. things happen the way they were meant to. he was spotted young he realised his potential later than most expected. some people players peak earlier and vanish, some later for whatever reason.

the point is Le Coq has been patient, to be at a club for 7 years and not agitated for a move shows remarkable loyally and believe. I believe that because he blossomed later than Cesc, Song, Denilson, Bendtner, (whatever you think of them) he’s unlikely to move anytime soon.

MegaJulz

My favourite player at the moment, he has given us EXACTLY what we needed.

goonero

I think we need stories like Coquelins to come true every once in a while for the hope and inspiration it gives. To us as fans and to other aspiring youngsters.

Big Moe from Scarbro

Great when we get schniderlin they can dual it out for that position. Coq will need to get harder and faster and bigger!

David

Le coq rose in the arse against everything expectation

Abz

Blogs, I’m down in Africa and we’ve had a biblical deluge!. Not the kind you’d bleess cause people died in the flood.Hoping for a 6 nil