Back in December last year, Arsenal midfielder Francis Coquelin was on loan with Championship side Charlton Athletic.
After injury struck Mikel Arteta in November the Frenchman was recalled and started in the Boxing Day game at Upton Park.
He started in 17 of the 18 remaining Premier League games afterwards, as his time in the team coincided with an excellent run of results. The Gunners won more points from January-May than any other side in the Premier League.
The new season has begun and Coquelin has started each of Arsenal’s four Premier League games, now the midfielder has given some advice to other young talents who may feel like they aren’t going to make it.
“If you keep working hard, at some point it will pay off,” the Frenchman said on the Arsenal podcast. “Sometimes it’s mentally hard and you don’t get the chances you have to stay mentally strong and it’s important to have good people around you.”
Now 24 years of age, Coquelin must have felt his chances of making it at Arsenal had passed him by. An unsuccessful loan spell at Bundesliga club SC Freiburg during the 2013/14 season saw him start in just nine times in the league. He wasn’t even used in the last 10 games of the season, failing to make the bench on seven of those match days.
“You have to make good decisions as well and when you get a chance you need to grab it.
“The most important thing is not to give up.”
Back at Arsenal the midfielder does seem to have taken his chance to the best of his ability. Whether or not he can nail down that spot over the long-term remains to be seen but, for now, he looks set to play every Arsenal game. As long as he isn’t banned, that is.