Arsenala s Arsene Wenger said that Francis Coquelina s rise is proof of footballa s ability to surprise.
Arsene said that Coquelin wasna t happy when he was recalled from his loan stint but then took his opportunities with both hands and has made it count.
a He wasna t happy when I called him back,a said Arsene Wenger. a He played at Charlton and he thought I just called him back for cover. He expected in fact to play against QPR and was not playing and was surprised when I played him against West Ham.
a I told him, at the start of the season, to give absolutely everything from the start of the season until Christmas.
a Then we will see together and see where you are. If you respect that you have done a big part of your job.
a Did I think the chat in mid-season would be about him leaving? Yes. In myself, if he doesna t play at Christmas at all, and therea s only six months contract to go, I let him go somewhere else.a
Arsene also said that Coquelin does not want to let this chance go away.
a He knows ita s an opportunity for him. He has gone through a lot of doubt questioning himself, being certainly at many times being discouraged that he doesna t get a chance.
a Now that he has a chance he doesna t want to let it slip away. But he is a winner and he wants to win a thata s why he is so committed.a
And on his game and effectiveness since his a promotiona , the Arsenal manager said, a I think Coquelin analysed well what he is good at: defending in midfield.
a He was in between a bit the play-making position and a box-to-box player. He is not that a hea s a sitting player who can win the ball. He restricted his game to that and you make success in life with what youa re good at.
a The only thing I do is that I never say never to anybody. In my job you have to be open-minded like that. You have to make decisions at times. But never close the door completely for anybody.a
Arsenal fans would certainly be hoping that Coquelina s rise does not mean that the much coveted signing of a defensive midfielder is put on hold in the summer. While they would be happy with Coquelina s contributions and glad that he has taken his chance, they would certainly want a replacement for Flamini and cover for Arteta. Theya ll hope Arsene doesna t close the door on a signing in the summer when it comes to the centre of the midfield.