The question of whether Carl Jenkinson will get back into the Arsenal team as a regular starter is one that has already been hotly debated this season. Despite the majority recognising that there’s currently a slim chance of such a thing happening, especially when Hector Bellerin is ever present at the club, it doesn’t stop Jenkinson himself from believing he can put the Spaniard to the test.
Speaking after making his first return to the Arsenal line up in nearly 900 days, Jenkinson said: “I hope I still have a role to play, we will see won’t we? I have just got to keep grafting away, stay fit and play as much as I can and when I get opportunities I have got to take them. I have got my foot in the door, played against Reading and hopefully I can play in the next round and get some opportunities here. Hector has been fantastic so far and he rightly deserves to be playing regularly, he has been brilliant so it is up to me when I get chances to play as well as I can and push him as well as I can.”
Jenkinson of course made his first start of the season last night and it was his first appearance in an Arsenal shirt for well over two years after a stint at West Ham. Jenkinson who is a well known Arsenal fan, was sent out on loan to West Ham for experience and he enjoyed two years in East London. The second season for Jenko was cut short due to injury but he has now built his fitness back up to the stage where he is ready to compete with Bellerin for the regular right back spot.
I like how the 24 year old recognises the fact that he doesn’t deserve to immediately go back into the line-up, not forgetting that he was progressing well and getting a fair few minutes for the Gunners before he left for West Ham. Jenkinson recognises that he’s going to have to work very hard to get back into this Arsenal team and take all the opportunities he’s given to prove himself. It’s that kind of belief and confidence that I think will help him get plenty of chances under Arsene Wenger this season. Jenkinson could’ve taken the approach of Mathieu Debuchy who seems to have decided to sulk in the squad rather than try to fight for his place. But Jenkinson being a fan of the club recognises the hard work he’s going to have to put in to be a regular part of this side.
Personally with the way that Bellerin is continuing to develop, I don’t see Jenkinson getting back into the side as a regular for quite a while, if ever. In fact I reckon unless there’s a drastic turnaround for Bellerin, or he leaves, I can’t see Jenkinson ever being first choice for the Gunners.
Last night was an important match for Jenkinson’s future at the club and he seemed comfortable on the ball. Of course there were a few nervy moments where perhaps he could have done better but let’s not forget this is his first competitive match after a injury picked up in January. I like Jenkinson’s attitude and I do rate him as a player, but unfortunately for him, there’s a player already in his slot who’s much better than him. Jenkinson will however be a great backup option for Arsenal and I think rotation between the pair could provide vital over the course of a long haul season.
What does this season and beyond hold for Jenko?