Francis Coquelin
Francis Coquelin recently signed a new deal at ArsenalGetty Images

Francis Coquelin says a lack of regular playing time stopped him from proving his real worth at Arsenal until the current campaign.

The 23-year-old midfielder moved to the Emirates Stadium from Stade Lavallois in 2008 as a prospect for the future.

But the Frenchman initially failed to establish himself in manager Arsene Wenger's squad, making only 43 first-team appearances for the Gunners until this season.

Being out of contract at the end of the season, Coquelin's future at the club looked all but uncertain and Wenger appeared to confirm the midfielder was out of his plans by sending him on loan to Charlton Athletic in November 2014.

However, the Frenchman was recalled in December due to the number of injuries in the midfield and has since earned a regular starting spot in Wenger's line-up, alongside a new deal. Coquelin has claimed he always knew he could thrive at Arsenal but just need a chance to prove it.

"I never got the chance to have the run of games. The manager gave it to me and I can show for the first time what I'm capable of," the midfielder said to Arsenal's official website.

"It's not to be big-headed but I've always had confidence in myself. I knew I could do good things and he's given me the chance, so now I can show it."

Coquelin has started the last 10 Premier League games ahead of Mathieu Flamini, making the most interceptions and winning the most duels in the top flight.

"Every footballer has been asked questions. Sometimes you're down, sometimes you're up and you need to grab your chance when it comes. That's what happened with me, I'm very happy with it and I'm trying to keep my place in the team," he said.

The midfielder hopes to keep his momentum in the last part of the campaign to help his side finish in the top four of the Premier League and retain the FA Cup.

He said: "We've got a lot to fight for. We've got a big game in the Champions League and we need to try and turn that one around. Everything is possible in football.

Meanwhile, speaking ahead of the FA Cup quarter-final against Manchester United on 9 March, Coquelin said: "The most important thing is that we've rebuilt our confidence now and we can go there and to Manchester full of confidence to try to get a result."