Francis Coquelin says moving from Arsenal to Valencia took him out of his comfort zone, but he feels he’s improved a lot since leaving.
Coquelin left Arsenal in January 2018, joining Valencia on a permanent deal after falling out of favour in North London.
The midfielder didn’t have an entirely smooth transition to Spain, rupturing his Achilles tendon in his first few months, but he’s bounced back to become a crucial part of the team. Despite that long-term injury, Coquelin has made 64 appearances for Valencia.
Speaking to the Spanish media, Coquelin admitted the injury changed his outlook on football, and he enjoys it more now.
“I see football differently,” Coquelin told AS. “It was my first serious injury and now every minute I am in the field I enjoy it more. When a player is away for so long, he is not happy.
“They were months of hard work, but I have my reward, because I returned with a good level (of performance). I signed for Valencia to play the Champions League and win titles.”
As for leaving Arsenal, Coquelin responded to a question about whether it cost him to leave his comfort zone in North London.
“It didn’t cost me, although it’s true that it was my comfort zone,” the former Gunner responded. “When I arrived in Spain, I didn’t speak any Spanish. But I came here with all my family. I made the decision and I hope I spend many years here.
“In Arsenal, I had a different role. Here in Valencia, I can do more things with the ball. In that area, I have improved a lot here.”
Valencia have had a mixed time in La Liga so far this season. Though they’ve only lost two games, they’ve been held to four draws in their nine games, leaving them 11th in La Liga.
As for the Champions League, they’re third in their group, but only two points off top spot. Qualification for the knockout stages is still very much on the cards, particularly if they can beat Chelsea at home as they did in the away fixture.
Regardless of the team performances, it seems Coquelin is happy with how things are going for him individually, which is nice to hear.