Laurent Koscielny says the experience he’s gained playing football at the highest level helped him stay calm in the face of Diego Costa’s antics against Arsenal earlier in the season.
The Frenchman refused to react to the Spain striker’s shoving and swinging elbows when the Gunners travelled to Stamford Bridge back in September only for teammate Gabriel to fall into the Chelsea man’s trap.
Reflecting on the incident, Koscielny revealed he’d received many messages from friends suggesting he should have sparked out the attacker.
“At the time, when he gives me a slap on the face, I don’t pay attention. We’re in a defensive situation and I continue to play. After he pushes me, I fall and get up because I’m not the type of player who drops down like that.
“Sure, I could have had a reaction, but I managed to keep my nerves. He wants to blow a defender’s fuse but you have to stay calm.”
“I received a lot of messages telling me: ‘Well done, because I, I would have hit him.’
“You know, it’s five years that I’ve been at Arsenal, I have over two hundred matches with my team, some very important, I played a World Cup, the Euros. All this experience helps my serenity and allows me to not be overwhelmed by the emotions of an encounter.”
Koscielny is currently away on international duty with France and he also touched on how he feels increasingly comfortable with his position as a mainstay in Didier Deschamps’ squad even though his style doesn’t echo classic leader-like qualities.
“It will be for four years now, nearly five that I have been selected for the French national team,” he told L’Equipe.
“I am used to the French national team. I know all the players, better and better.
“Aside from that, I am quite a reserved person. I am not a natural leader. Like others might be in the dressing room.
“Like Hugo [Lloris] or Pat [Evra]. It is more through my actions on the pitch that I can lead, that gives me a certain legitimacy. Like I have at Arsenal.”