Francis Coquelin has been at Arsenal since 2008 but he claims his loan spells abroad have actually been more valuable than his time in north London.
The midfielder has spent time at Lorient, Freiburg and Charlton, so it’s fair to say he’s been all over the shop and because of this, he’s got the chance to not only experience a different style of football but a different culture entirely.
“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,” Francis explained.
“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.”
What Coq has described is exactly the reason we send young players out on loan. It isn’t simply a matter of getting them game time. While this is important, allowing the youngsters to live their lives out of their comfort zone, experience news things and grow as individuals is also huge.
In the case of Coquelin, the 25-year-old has matured into a level-headed midfielder. He’s still no Mikel Arteta, but he has plenty of time to develop and his passion for Arsenal is clear to see.