Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger heaps praise on Francis Coquelin

Arsene Wenger admits he has been thrilled by Francis Coquelin's improvement for Arsenal this season

Arsene Wenger has singled out Francis Coquelin for special praise following the midfielder’s inspired form for Arsenal in recent weeks.

The Frenchman has made the holding midfield role his own and has produced a string of impressive displays to help Wenger’s side win nine of their last 10 Premier League games.

Coquelin’s sustained run in Arsenal’s first-team comes after a long wait, with the midfielder having initially joined the club aged 17 before various loan spells away from Emirates Stadium.

Wenger has been delighted by what he has seen from the midfielder this season and heaped praise on the midfielder for the patience he has shown.

Wenger told Arsenal’s website: “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. 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.”

Coquelin will be hoping to feature when Arsenal take on Swansea City at Emirates Stadium on Monday night.

The midfielder has made a total of 19 Premier League appearances for the north London side this season since returning from his loan spell at Charlton.

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