Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain believes Francis Coquelin's mental strength is a key reason for his recent resurgence.

The pair made their debuts for the club in the same match - with the England international replacing the French midfielder in a heavy defeat at Manchester United in 2011.

While Oxlade-Chamberlain stayed in the first-team squad, Coquelin spent time on loan at Freiburg and Charlton Athletic, before establishing himself in Arsenal’s midfield after returning to the club in December.

Matchday Programme

Read more from Alex in the Aston Villa programme

“He's been really patient and I’m sure there’s been tough times for him since he’s been at the club,” Alex told the official matchday programme. “I know everyone here has always known what a talent he’s been, it’s just been a case of the numbers and the type of personnel that we’ve had. It can be hard.

“As a young lad, sometimes you do feel the wrong end of that and those are the times when some people need to go out on loan to find their way.

“He’s been abroad and in the Championship but he’s never lost his quality and sometimes it’s all about luck and opportunities.

“Since he’s come back, he’s taken his opportunities, he’s taken his chances to show how good he is and now I see him as a big part of our team. He is a really influential and key part to our success, especially at Manchester City.

“In recent weeks we’ve seen it but the Manchester City game really showed how important he is and how good he is. Hopefully that will continue for him because it’s good for us as well."


Francis Coquelin has impressed of late
Francis Coquelin has impressed of late 

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Nik Brumsack 30 Jan 2015