Arsenal’s Carl Jenkinson has only just returned from a long absence due to injury, that’s spanned from an issue picked up in the middle stages of last season. Jenkinson was on loan at West Ham before he was sent back to Arsenal for treatment on the injury, that’s kept him out for most of 2016.
Jenkinson got to pull on the shirt of his boyhood club once again against Reading in the recent EFL cup match and he has recently said that he fully intends to give fellow right back Hector Bellerin a run for his place in the team. Jenkinson acknowledges that it won’t be easy to get back into the Arsenal side, given Bellerin’s talents, but a recent injury to the Spaniard may give Jenkinson the chance to show the club what he can do.
Wenger announced prior to Arsenal’s upcoming match, that Bellerin had picked up an injury in training and as a consequence would not travel to Bulgaria with the rest of the squad.
On Arsenal’s Champions League clash, Wenger made it very clear that Bellerin wouldn’t be available. Wenger said: “Bellerin had a little incident in the last minute of training so they are not here. For us it’s a big game because as you said, if we win we can qualify. But if we lose, you can as well be in a difficult situation. So we know the importance of the game is massive.”
When asked if Jenkinson will replace him, Wenger answered: “He [Jenkinson] is in the squad. I have not named the team yet, I will decide that tomorrow. He is in the squad. I have plenty of right backs in the squad, three or four.”
Of course Arsenal have a number of right backs in the squad, with Bellerin, Debuchy, Jenkinson and Maitland-Niles all having made an appearance for the first team in that position this season. Whilst Bellerin is considered first choice, Jenkinson’s return to fitness arguably puts him ahead of Mathieu Debuchy. Debuchy has spent the last year or so sulking on the sidelines and he now could even been behind Maitland-Niles as well, with the winger turned full back having made a cameo appearance ahead of the Frenchman in the EFL Cup.
Arsenal can say that they are quite blessed with options in the full back position, after things were originally looking relatively bleak when Sagna announced he was leaving. Wenger has plenty of options to choose from for not only tonight’s match, but potentially for the weekend as well. Arsenal come up against rivals Spurs in the North London derby this weekend and so Bellerin would be a massive miss for the Gunners, but I think Arsenal can have faith in Jenkinson.
Let’s hope Bellerin isn’t ruled out for too long and thankfully it seems it is only a little niggling injury. However should be ruled out for longer, then Jenkinson could be set for a run in the team.