Arsene Wenger has spoken in glowing terms about two players who may struggle to get into the Arsenal first team in the coming weeks and months but have the full backing of their manager, Carl Jenkinson and Serge Gnabry. Both players are likely to start the Capital One cup game tonight against Reading, but will miss out on Premier and Champions league games unless they come on as a substitute or there are more injury problems.
Bacary Sagna reclaimed his right back slot from 20-year old Jenkinson against QPR, and looked like he had never been away. Wenger admits that Jenkinson’s form this season gave him a lot to think about and he wants the player to know that he is valued.
“It was a tough decision, very tough. The team was a bit low in confidence and I felt experience at the back could help. Of course, Bacary Sagna has an advantage on Jenkinson in experience.
“But I am very, very happy and thrilled with what Jenkinson has done until now and he will play again this season of course.
“What he has done is extremely promising, and he is so young, so where he is now at his age is fantastic.”
The young defender has certainly come on from two years ago when he was playing in the third tier of English football with Charlton. Another player even younger than Jenkinson who has started to break into the first team is 17-year old Serge Gnabry.
The young German came on as a substitute in the last round of the cup, and has made his Premier league and Champions league debuts since, due to Arsenal having problems with injuries and form. Gnabry could well start tonight, and Wenger believes he has a bright future.
“He is a guy who can play in all the offensive positions. I think he could even play centre forward. He has a kind of efficiency in his game and can get on the end of things.
“He has big potential, creative potential, finishing potential. Serge is 17-years old and is strong for a boy of that age.
“It is difficult to compare with anyone. He is not small, he is stocky with good body balance. He glides, he is fluent.”
Gnabry may get more first team opportunities sooner than he thinks, if Gervinho is facing a long time on the sidelines. If Oxlade-Chamberlain has not recovered in time for the game against Manchester United, the youngster could make the bench, and could even play at Old Trafford.
Reading vs. Arsenal will be on JustLiveStreaming.com