Arsenal midfielder Francis Coquelin has admitted that the loan spells away from north London have helped in making him the player he is today. The Frenchman joined Arsenal in 2008 and has spent time on a temporary basis in France and Germany with Lorient and Freiburg respectively, while also spending a short spell with Charlton in the English championship.
The 24-year-old midfielder did not look likely to break into the first team at Arsenal after struggling to nail down a place once he returned from his first loan spell with Ligue 1 side Lorient at the end of the 2010/11 campaign. He spent two seasons at the club as a squad member before being loaned out to Freiburg in 2013.
Coquelin returned to the Emirates Stadium at the start of the 2014/15 season but failed to break into the team and was behind Jack Wilshere, Mikel Arteta, Mathieu Flamini and Aaron Ramsey in the midfield pecking order. He was sent on a short term loan to Charlton but was recalled at the start of December due to a midfield injury crisis and he made his first appearance of the season as a substitute against Newcastle United before starting his first match in 23 months against West Ham United on 28 December 2014.
The former French U21 international has since become an integral part of the Arsenal squad and has started 32 Premier League games following his breakthrough. The midfielder has vowed to fight for the team and he will be a key player as the Gunners compete on three fronts this season.
"It was a great learning experience, Arsenal is a great club — a massive club. But you are kind of in a comfort zone as it is such a big club, you have all the facility," Coquelin said, as quoted by the London Evening Standard.
"To go away, go abroad and see a different culture and different football helped me a lot and I came back stronger."
"I always had belief in myself, I didn't think it would happen that quickly as 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," the French midfielder added.