Schooldays - Francis Coquelin

Francis Coquelin

In every issue of this season's matchday programme, we've been finding out about the Arsenal' squad were like in their formative years.

To mark Francis Coquelin's 24th birthday, here he is discussing his schooldays.

Name of school: Ambroise Pare
Location: Laval
Age attended: 15-17

Did you enjoy your school days?
Yes I did generally.

What was your favourite subject (not PE/Games) at school and why?
I liked French literature and English. I was good at languages. I also liked German.

What was your least favourite subject and why?
All the sciences, physics and maths, things like that. I wasn't very good at that.

Did you have a favourite teacher? If so, what made them so good?
The English teacher, because I enjoyed the lessons. He was called Monsieur Goubin.

Did any teachers in particular encourage you to be a footballer?
Actually the economics/business management teacher encouraged me, but when she realized I was going to Arsenal she said it would be sad for me to go because I just had one year left to do to graduate. I wanted to finish my course but I couldn't pass up the opportunity to join Arsenal. I think I might complete the course one day, maybe go to university when I've finished football.



Did any of your teachers tell you to get a ‘proper job’? If so, what did they recommend?
No, not really. There was one teacher when I was 10 years old who said to my mum that I would never do anything with my life! I was good at school, but she thought I would end up on the streets!

Which football team did most kids support at your school?
Most of them were Marseille.

How far away from school did you live and how did you get to school?
It was ten minutes on the bus.

Did you wear a school uniform and, if so, what was it like?
No, you don't have to in France

How often did you get detention at school? Can you remember for what?
No I was 'undercover!' I did a few things but never got caught.



Did you ever kiss a girl behind the bike sheds?
Well not the bike sheds but when I was five or six there was a dragon climbing-frame in the playground. The girl was seven and we met there for a kiss. The funny thing is my mate dated that same girl a couple of years ago!

Did you ever perform in a school play or end-of-year show?
No, I didn't do that.

Can you remember any school trips?
We had a good one to Jersey but I missed it because I was ill, but I do remember going to a war memorial once though and we did a trip to Germany.

Were you a member of any school clubs? (apart from the football club)
I used to play tennis a bit.

How good was your school football team?
Yes, it was decent.

Which footballer did you pretend to be in the playground?
After 1998 everyone pretended to be Zidane. Actually when I was eight or nine I got an Arsenal shirt for Christmas. It's the old SEGA shirt, with my name on the back. I still have it today.

Can you tell us one thing you learned at school that you can still remember?
It's where I learnt respect.

What was your favourite sport at school apart from football?
Tennis, I played that before I played football. I also played futsal. I played until midnight some nights.


Francis Coquelin

Francis Coquelin


Who was your best friend at school?
My cousin was my best friend, his name is Marvin Joseph.

Are you still in touch with any of your school friends?
Yeah, quite a few of them.

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When you left your school for the last time were you happy, sad? And why?
I was quite sad, school is the best years. You understand that when you leave. I tell that to my brother who is 15 but he says "what are you talking about?" I was sad to leave the town and coming to a new country, it can be difficult. The worst thing when I came to England was that I thought my English was all right, but school English is not the same as conversational English!

When was the last time you went back to your school?
It was not long after I signed for Arsenal, I need to go back soon. I'm not sure if they will remember me! I don't know if the staff are the same.

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