Former Arsenal midfielder Franics Coquelin has claimed he was forced to playing as a holding midfielder at Arsenal because his attacking quality ‘wasn’t required’.
The Frenchman has put it down to the fact that Santi Cazorla and Mesut Ozil were both in front of him at the Emirates Stadium, meaning he had to make do with a more defensive role.
The revelation comes at a time when Coquelin is now playing further forward at Valencia, the club he left Arsenal for last summer.
Under Marcelino, Coquelin is enjoying a new lease of life and is a regular for Los Che.
Speaking in an interview with The Independent, he said: “I think the manager has improved me massively. I had a different role at Arsenal. I was playing defensive midfield and with the quality of Mesut [Ozil] and Santi [Cazorla], my quality wasn’t much required.
“Here, Marcelino gave me the confidence to get on the ball a lot more and create through the middle. I think he has improved every aspect of my game. I have been blessed to have two great managers in my career.”
Coquelin was never going to be able to feature as an advanced midfielder during his time at the Emirates.
He may be flourishing at the Mestalla Stadium now, but Ozil (£42.5 million from Real Madrid, The Daily Mail) and Cazorla (£16.5 million from Villarreal, The Daily Mail) are arguably two of the most technically gifted footballers Arsenal have ever had.
Coquelin may have had attacking qualities to offer but Arsene Wenger also had other players better equipped to help out in the final third.
Aaron Ramsey was another player ahead of Coquelin, as was Tomas Rosicky when he wasn’t injured.