I Wanted to Run Away From Arsenal

Arsenal star and midfield anchor has revealed that his first training encounter at the club was so hectic to the point that he was in doubt as to whether to return or just run off.

Francis Coquelin first arrived London Colney for a week long trial when he was 16 years of age and even though he had a thigh problem at that time, he was still able to impress, thereby earning himself a deal.

The Frenchman who has since last season proven to be a reliable powerhouse in Arsene Wenger's squad has made it known that it was not an easy task making a decision to sign for the Gunners.

“When I left Arsenal I wasn’t sure whether I would come back,” he told the Arsenal Magazine. “I remember my first training session with the first team and it was war. I said to the boss at the door when I left, ‘This is different!’

“I remember seeing two players fighting in training, and I had an argument with Jens Lehmann as well and I was thinking, ‘Wow, where am I?’

“Two weeks later we had the European Under-17 Championship and I was more worried about whether I would be alright to play in that [than whether I would get a deal].”

However tough the decision looked to make, Coquelin could not resist as he saw it as an opportunity too big to turn one's back against. He took the right step by agreeing to stay and that move has been paying off so far.

“It was a difficult decision because I had to leave my family in France,” he said. “But I thought it was time for me to go, so I went.

“It was tough at first. When you’re young, staying in a hotel room and not doing anything, not seeing your friends, not speaking the language, eating different food… it’s hard.

“Then I was straight in training with the first team, so I wasn’t really in with the reserves who were my age, and the only guy I could talk to was Gilles Sunu. He was injured at the time so the first month was difficult for me.

“But what helped me a lot was when I moved in with my first lodging family in Enfield. I’m still really close to them now and actually feel like part of the family.

“It really helped because I was talking to them everyday so it felt a bit like home. On the pitch I felt much better too, and then I got to speak the language. My first year was unbelievable to be honest.”

Post a Comment