Arsenal’s Arsene Wenger has hailed the mentality of Carl Jenkinson as he nears his return from injury, but could he challenge for a first-team role?
The defender has been out of action since January, falling foul of injury whilst conceding a penalty for loan-club West Ham, and was sent back to North-London to have his recovery overlooked.
Jenkinson is now set to make a return to playing, but after a prolonged absence, Wenger has now confirmed that he will make his mark in the Under-23 side as he aims to bring his match-fitness up.
When can we expect to see Jenko back?
— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) October 13, 2016
The defender has not featured for the Gunners since May 2014, with Calum Chambers and Mathieu Debuchy being signed in the summer, which forced the former Charlton youth product to consider his first-team place.
Jenkinson then opted to join the Hammers on a temporary basis, and after impressing in his 36 outings that term, agreed to extend his stay in East London for a further year, albeit signed a new five-year Arsenal contract between loan spells.
Just as he was being touted as a potential England prospect for Euro 2016, he succumbed to injury in January, and was sent back to Arsenal, and he will be keen to get back to fitness in the near future.
Arsene Wenger will have given the 24 year-old hope of breaking into his first-team squad in the near future by praising his attitude, but can he challenge Bellerin for a first-team role?
The Spaniard himself has been impressing since being promoted in the place of Mathieu Debuchy in September 2014, and is set to earn a new extended contract as confirmed in today’s press conference.
Can Jenkinson offer an alternative type of full-back to the Arsenal first XI? Or is he destined to be Bellerin’s back-up?