Leno: Koscielny gave players a pre-Sp*rs pep talk

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Bernd Leno has welcomed the impending return from injury of club captain Laurent Koscielny and revealed the Frenchman lectured the Arsenal squad on the importance of winning the north London derby.

Sidelined by a ruptured Achilles since May, the defender is set to make his first team comeback on Thursday against Qarabag in the Europa League. Assuming he comes through that tie unscathed there’s a high chance, given the suspensions to Shkodran Mustafi and Sokratis and injuries to Rob Holding and Dinos Mavropanos, that he’ll also get game time at Southampton on Sunday.

It’s a big moment for the 33-year-old, who’ll be under pressure to help the Gunners extend their 21-game unbeaten run into the hectic Christmas period.

“In training you see how he is talking to other players,” Leno told Arsenal.com.

“We have many young players and he talks to them and for me he is a big personality in the team, in the dressing room.

“Before Tottenham, he was not in the squad but five minutes before the game he said many, many good things about the history of the game, how important it is for the fans, the club, every player, so he is the perfect captain for us.

“He is a big personality and of course he has big quality. I think we should give him the time [to play]. The coach is calm with him because he was a long time injured.

“I am happy for him that maybe he will play [against Qarabag on Thursday], I think he will play because he needs the confidence to play. His body needs also the feeling for the game.

“Of course, he trained a long time for us but the games are more difficult because the game is different for your head. I am happy for him that he will maybe start on Thursday and of course he will be an option for the next weeks in the [main] starting XI.”

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Pedant
Pedant

He is the boss!

Need him v Southampton, hope he has recovered well.

High gooner
High gooner

yes! I agree, and that is why I wouldnt play him on Thursday vs Qarabag

AnonymousGun
AnonymousGun

He needs match time to accumulate himself.

High gooner
High gooner

He also needs recovery time? its tough playing thursday-sunday when you have been injured for a long time.

goonero
goonero

Can I point out how Kos is aging like fine wine? The man looks damn near regal!

Billy Batts
Billy Batts

He got rid of that choppy Bart Simpson barnet. Good decision.

Hesgotyellowbootson
Hesgotyellowbootson

He did look like a kid with that old haircut

lovely arse
lovely arse

Legend.

Devlin
Devlin

Apparently cried during the meeting the players had last season to address Arsenal’s issues at the time. He is Arsenal through and through.

He could be considered a legend by now right?

Grimster
Grimster

True, but I’m not sure crying is usually considered a hallmark of great leadership.
Great player and good guy though.

Chibs
Chibs

Lead with his heart

Ozenal
Ozenal

It’s almost saying how his preferred style of captain is. I guess some other captains are not the traditional leader type.

Double98
Double98

long live Sokcielny the mustafi inhibitor

Rohit
Rohit

What does it even supposed to mean…???

Devlin
Devlin

Why is everyone ignoring the fact that Mustafi is our first choice defender, no matter who is injured or not?

Mustafi is having an amazing season right now, he us our highest rated player this season, even ahead of Aubameyang. Maybe if his performances are compared with the rest of the defenders in the premier league instead of Tony Adams, people would seewhy he will always play ahead of anyone.

Ausdrexler
Ausdrexler

Mustafi cops way to much flack from some fans. He actually is a quality defender and would be in most EPL starting 11’s. I think some fans expect players to never make mistakes and be the perfect player… fantasy dream land me thinks!

asda
asda

Yet I’ve read here in the discussion many times that he’s not a leader, but hey.

Tim
Tim

I’d like to be a fly on the wall in my next life.

shokim
shokim

Lolo leads by example. Can’t wait for him to come back.

santori
santori

Best signing in the last 10 years for us.;)

Started off rocky first season own goals red cards and penalties conceded aplenty.

But never looked back after and formed a decent partnership with Metersecker for a short while.

We will need him in this likely his very last season for us.

Any appearance from him is a bonus given wear and tear issues.

And it starts with potentially this weekend against Soton. A good opportunity to stress test him with a run out against Qarabag if he is pass fit and ready.

I expect we will try and continue with a back 3 Lichsteiner and Monreal on either side of our veteran defender and team leader.

The time to step up is now.

santori
santori

If he doesn’t pass fit, the man I feel who should fill in the central role defensively is sitting next to him – Elneny.

Naija Gunner
Naija Gunner

Welcome back Kos 😎