Francis Coquelin admits loan spells in France and Germany were key in his development into one of Arsenal’s key players.
Coquelin spent a season at Lorient in Ligue 1, before a year at Bundesliga outfit Freiburg, and is now Arsene Wenger’s first-choice defensive midfielder at the Emirates.
And the 24-year-old believes he needed to prove himself away from the club before he was given a chance in north London.
“It was a great learning experience, Arsenal is a great club – a massive club. But you are kind of in a comfort zone as it is such a big club, you have all the facility,” Coquelin told the Daily Mirror.
“To go away, go abroad and see a different culture and different football helped me a lot and I came back stronger.
“I always had belief in myself, I didn’t think it would happen that quickly as I was on loan quite a few times but when I went back I always had my belief.
“When the manager gave me my chance I grabbed it with both hands and just did the maximum I could to help the team.”
Arsenal manager Wenger is renown for giving young players an opportunity in the first-team and Coquelin admits his compatriot was one of the key factors in his decision to join the Gunners.
“He’s a great manager. He’s won everything and he always goes for younger players which is why I came here. He’s not scared to play younger players,” he added.
“It’s massive when you know the manager has your back and confidence in you. It’s a big thing and every time I play I want to give something back to him because he gave me my chance.
“Now I want to do really well for Arsenal.”