Arsenal have already confirmed this week that Carl Jenkinson has returned from his long term injury absence and is now ready to fight for his place in the team. The right back has been out of action for the majority of 2016, after he picked up an injury whilst on a season long loan at fellow London side West Ham United. With the defender ruled out until the end of the season, Jenkinson returned to Arsenal for treatment. However it is only now, eight weeks into the new Premier League season, that Jenko is finally ready to get back on the pitch.
We all know that Carl Jenkinson is a massive Arsenal fan at heart. We’ve seen the pictures of him in his Arsenal themed bedroom, not to be confused with the similar images of Robin Van Persie, and we can tell that the right back is proud of every minute that he gets to play in the famous red and white of Arsenal. It’s actually so pleasing to see a few members of the squad who are true Gooners, like Wilshere and Jenkinson, as it reminds you of the old days when a team would be full of talent who grew up in the Arsenal system and admired the Arsenal way. Having these passionate Gooners amongst the squad is a big mentality boost in my opinion as you know they’ll play with their heart. The issue is neither of the players mentioned are actually managing to get into the team.
Of course Wilshere is out on loan in a bid to rebuild his fitness with regular first team football, but with the focus on Jenkinson, is there any chance of this Arsenal fan getting another chance to pull on the shirt of his favourite club?
A lot has changed since Jenkinson last had a run in the team three years ago. Jenkinson was featuring a little more for the Gunners back in the 2013-14 season, almost sharing the position with Bacary Sagna at times. However since then, Sagna has left and been replaced by Debuchy, Jenko has spent two seasons in the East End of London and Arsenal have seen the influential rise of Hector Bellerin.
Bellerin has his position nailed down to a tee in my opinion. Debuchy featured a fair bit in pre-season but hasn’t been able to budge Bellerin off his post. In fact even when Bellerin has been rested, Wenger hasn’t opted to play Debuchy, showing that the Frenchman’s Arsenal career is pretty much over. Bellerin therefore currently has no challengers for his post, but Jenkinson could soon be about to change that.
In no way do I think Jenkinson should be getting into the team ahead of Bellerin. Bellerin is one of the most promising Young Guns to come through the youth set up in recent times and he looks set to keep the post for the long term future. Jenkinson therefore, like Debuchy, has little chance of displacing the Spaniard, but the English right back could set to provide decent backup in Arsene Wenger’s squad selection.
I personally rate Jenkinson and that’s without trying to let the bias of his Arsenal love get in the way. I think that the right back has talent and although he has made a few errors in the past, every player deserves another chance if they are in Jenkinson’s personal position. He was much improved at West Ham after a consistent run in the team and so although I can’t see the Englishman ever displacing Bellerin for good whilst the Spaniard remains at this club, I can see Jenkinson being a more than capable back up defender, who Wenger can use for rotation purposes.