Francis Coquelin has spoken to the media about his six months out with injury in Valencia, after suffering an Achilles tendon injury earlier this year.

After completing a move away from Arsenal in the January transfer window, Coquelin became a regular starter for his new club, Valencia. Unfortunately it didn’t last, as he picked up an injury in March, just 11 appearances into his time in Spain.

It turned out the midfielder had ruptured his Achilles tendon, and he spent the rest of the 2017/18 campaign on the sidelines, along with the start of the new season.

“I am a strong person,” Coquelin insisted. “But in this situation I did not know what reaction I was going to have, and it is difficult. With the help of everyone it was easier, and now I’m very happy to be training with the team.

“It was my first serious injury and the first months were complicated, but the club, the teammates, the technical staff, the coach, they were all with me. Just like my family, who were also very important for me.

“Now I am in a very good phase and with joy, I can train with my teammates and touch the ball. I am closer to working with the team, I am very happy to be with them and now I have to go step by step, train a lot more and increase the intensity to play soon. This is a happier phase and I am happy.”

The midfielder can draw on the experience of former teammate Laurent Koscielny, who is also going through a similar thing at the moment. Koscielny has struggled with Achilles problems in the past, and is currently recovering from an injury of his own. Like Coquelin, he also recently returned to the training pitches to kick the ball around.

Hopefully the two Frenchmen can keep in contact and help each other through the final stages of their recoveries.

Tough Champions League draw

The Champions League draw didn’t treat Valencia too kindly, matching them up with Manchester United and Juventus, as well as Swiss side Young Boys. Nonetheless, Coquelin is looking forward to the clashes.

“When you play the Champions you know that you are going to face strong teams,” he said. “We were in Pot 3, so we knew we were going to have two strong rivals. It will be good for us to compete against teams like Manchester United and Juventus. As well as the current leader of the Swiss league, which is also a good team.

“We want to play a good role and start against Juve at home, surely the fans will be at their best.”

Good luck to the former Gunner for the clashes. If he can find a new way to annoy United boss Jose Mourinho, I’m sure Arsenal supporters would love him all the more.