By Joe Brewin

Francis Coquelin has been pleasantly surprised by the number of first-team opportunities he has had this season.

The youngster’s versatility has seen him feature in the full-back positions as well as his customary role in central midfield, and he is likely to be involved at West Bromwich Albion on Sunday with Bacary Sagna sidelined by injury.

Coquelin completed a successful season-long loan at Ligue 1 outfit Lorient last year and the 20-year-old has continued his progress in Arsène Wenger’s first-team set-up. 

“When I look back at this season I would say I am really happy,” Coquelin told Arsenal Player. “I didn't expect to play that much in the first place and I had my chance this season to show what I can do on the pitch.

“Obviously a few injuries have backed me off a bit but I am generally pleased with the season. The manager trusts me as a right back or a left back. At some points in the season we had a lot of injuries so that helped me to get a lot of games.”

Sunday’s trip to West Brom has been billed as a ‘cup final’ and Coquelin insists the squad have put in some hard yards in preparation.

“It [third place] could have been finished after Norwich because after the other results we could have qualified for the Champions League,” said the midfielder. “But we drew and now we need to win this game against West Brom.

“It is the last game of the season and all the staff and all of the players want to end up with this third place. We are all looking forward to it.

“When we came back to the training ground on Monday everybody knew it would be a tough week. The weekend is going to be an important one, everybody is concentrating on it and I think everybody is ready to fight for this third place.”

Watch the full interview with Francis on Arsenal Player now.

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11 May 2012