To celebrate the seventh anniversary of Francis Coquelin signing for Arsenal we pulled a classic interview from our archives. This piece first appeared in a 2009 Capital One Cup programme.
Having made his first team debut in the Carling Cup in September 2008, tenacious tackler Francis Coquelin could be considered a veteran of the competition.
An impressive 60 minutes against West Bromwich should also have helped to cement his place in the starting line-up, but the 18 year-old is not so sure: “I think that the side that Mr Wenger picks to play against Liverpool will still be filled with young players, but it will be older than previous teams.
“I think there are a number of reasons for this. The first one is that there have been a lot of injured players who are now getting ready to come back into the first team and this match will be an ideal opportunity for them.
“The second reason perhaps is that Liverpool’s early results to the season has made the Carling Cup an even bigger trophy. Their place in the Champions League is not guaranteed and they have a bigger challenge to win the Premier League because they have lost four games already.
“Also, I have a good friend who plays for Liverpool, his name is Chris Mavinga and we have both been discussing and looking forward to this game. I get the impression from him that the Liverpool manager will pick a strong and experienced side,” reveals the young Frenchman, adding: “I hope to be in the team and it would be great if my friend was playing too, but we will have to see.”
In truth, Francis has the exact qualities required for the game. He is composed and calm beyond his years and provided the solid platform that then allowed the young Gunners to become more adventurous in the last half hour to then go on and cruise home against West Brom in the last round.
“The Manager told us to play our game and keep things simple and steady. I suppose that is what I am known for. I am I suppose a defensive midfielder. My usual responsibility is to win the ball, keep possession and play it simple.
“But,” he insists: “I do enjoy going forward and that is something that I believe is an important part of my game, and important for the modern midfielder,” smiling: “I used to be a striker when I was little.”
Arsene Wenger has recently heaped praise on Alexander Song, calling his a “slalom midfielder, he does not just play in straight lines.” Francis is very similar, he has a trick and a turn but has the added value of an engine that just keeps going.
“People ask me how I do it and they say that I never look like I get tired. Believe me that is not true. After 90 minutes I get very tired because I like to give everything.
“Alexander and also Abou Diaby are two players that I watch very closely to see how they do things to improve my game. I believe that if asked to play for the first team I am ready to do my job and do it well, whenever it is and I hope to play a few games this season.”
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