Carl Jenkinson - The Corporal
By Sam Oliver
Reserve right back comes good
8th June, 2011 - ArsŤne Wenger signs a little-known right-back from Charlton Athletic, who barely featured in their League One campaign; in fact, he was on loan at Eastbourne Borough a lot of the season. So why, when the club was crying out for quality in midfield with the imminent departures of Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri, was an untried full-back being brought in?
The answer is simply that Wenger is so good at seeing potential in a young player. He saw something in Carl that no other top clubs saw, which was the potential for a great player. However, his first season perhaps wasnít what he had envisaged; making his debut vs Udinese at left-back, he then featured in that awful 8-2 defeat to Man United, and he even saw red late on. What followed was a series of nervous performances - a player who many thought would struggle massively. When Bacary Sagna broke his leg, many believed it was Carlís time to shine, but a stress fracture in his back kept him out of the side for a long period. He featured a little towards the end of the season and was ok, despite looking naÔve tactically. Many were hoping for a new right-back in the summer when Sagna unfortunately suffered another leg-break, thinking our Flying Finn wasnít up to it.
However, no right back was brought in (or anyone remotely defensive for that matter) and Jenkinson would be starting the season as first choice right-back. Le Boss has a history of knowing young players and whether they were good enough, and the faith he has shown in Jenkinson proved to be the right call, as we saw a completely different player from the '11/12 Jenkinson, or even the one who didnít look very good at all in pre-season. He has learned when to hang back now and stay in position, as opposed to bombing up the pitch far too often with blatant disregard for whatís behind him. He rarely lets a player past him and always works hard; his crosses when in the final third are great and Gary Neville said he would Ďrun through walls for youí. Very true.
Of course, he isnít perfect. He gives the ball away too much in our own third and still has a tendency to pull shirts when in trouble; however, heís come on in leaps and bounds since his arrival from Charlton, and itís very easy to love our Carl; a boyhood Arsenal fan, he loves the club and we love him.
Finally, I was very disappointed he wasnít in the England squad; heís played much better than Glen Johnson this season and if he plays for Finland and not England, the FA will have made a massive cock-up not securing him as an England player sooner. If he keeps up his early form from this season, we have a very promising player on our hands. Keep the faith.
10th October 2012
User Comment and Reaction
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Ketts 9:32am 10th Oct 2012
Slight correction Sam, Carl also attracted attention from Fulham, West Ham and Manchester United. Wenger's great eye for young talent was the reason he paid a fee for Jenks rather than wait for a tribunal and risk losing him. You are right, he and his family are lifelong Arsenal fans. Don't worry about an England call up, I understand he will play against Sweden next month and has already turned down the opportunity of winning a full cap for Finland. An intersting point will be if Charlton get any extra payment, I doubt it was envisaged he would play for England. When he was in our youth team he played across the back line but centre-back is the position he prefers. You never know, you just may have another Tony Adams on your hands. - Post No. 29365
Total Arsenal 9:32am 10th Oct 2012
Hear, hear! Nice article. :) Carl is a fine player who seems to be benefiting tremendously from both the coaching of Bould and playing next to the natural leader Mertesacker. I love his tenacity and incredible work rate and he is one of the best RB crossers in the league. And his heart has a cannon on it too. Great prospect, potential for a future legend! :) - Post No. 29366
Kenny 9:41am 10th Oct 2012
The corporal has done great but Sagna is the best RB by miles in the premiership and must come straight back into the team - Post No. 29367
GaryFootscrayAustralia 9:59am 10th Oct 2012
Glen Johnson could learn a lot from Carl about positional discipline. I've lost count of the incidents where Johnson is caught stranded high up the touchline, ahead of the right winger, as the opposition's left sided forward roars into acres of space at the other end, at both league and international level. Don't worry Glen, the press have got your place in the squad covered. At the time of replying, the only thing missing from this article is some negative doughnut in the comments section claiming that he's sub - standard, blaming the manager and calling for the heads of both....but I'm sure that will come. The likelihood is that one of the jealous sleepers on this site acting in the interests of whatever club they follow will get around to posting such nonsense until they disappear up their own backside. - Post No. 29368
Dave 10:29am 10th Oct 2012
Wally Walnutt could learn from the corporal on how to cross the ball.He wants 100k a week yet cant cross the road - Post No. 29369
chris dee 10:38am 10th Oct 2012
A great signing by Arsene. Carl looks like a player who will run his socks off both in training and playing and is obviously a quick learner.He also seem like a fella who won't become complacent or big headed,a real 'fans player'.A player who gave Woolcott a right mouthfull at Old Trafford for not tracking back in only his second full game which was great to see cause it mean't he really cared. His attitude is the same as Pat Rice's was as a player ,and like Pat Rice I hope Arsene realises he has an ideal captain of Arsenal. It's a shame that we did not get Chris Smalling at around the same time,the boy was desparate to come to Arsenal,but United made Fulham an offer they could't refuse. - Post No. 29370
Dan h 11:07am 10th Oct 2012
He has been a revelation lovely to see and long may it continue.Defensively he has been sound and will only get better with experience.Never stops bombing down the wing & his crossing is really underated.You can see how proud he is to play for Arsenal when we got beat the other week at home he was on the floor looked totally gutted.I hope he doesn't go near the England squad for a while yet some players seem to get a bit too full of themselves once they get selected.Once Sagna gets fit there is no reason to rush him back & the fact we have competition for the right back position will only strengthen us. - Post No. 29371
Ron 13:10pm 10th Oct 2012
Has his limitations but how can anyone not love his attitude. I wished we had a few more local boys in and about the place. The Clubs desperate for it in my view. - Post No. 29375
JER 13:12pm 10th Oct 2012
Nice appraisal of Carl which immediately gets turned into bash Theo. Typical. - Post No. 29376
Alan Jalzeera 13:36pm 10th Oct 2012
Agreed - Jenks looks a real prospect. He is such a better player now than 12 months ago - I predict great things for him. - Post No. 29378
Mandy Dodd 14:14pm 10th Oct 2012
Enjoyed the article, cannot speak too highly on the progress Jenkinson has made in a short time. Looks like another gem found - Post No. 29380
maguiresbridge gooner 15:10pm 10th Oct 2012
Jenkinson has certainly improved and come on leaps and bounds which is great to see taking into account some of our other young additions.He's still young and inexperienced and it's because of that he'll lose his place when sagna is fully fit.But lets hope sagna has been learning a thing or two of him as well as how to cross the ball.No doubt he along with others in our team have an international future ahead of them.That's the problem we have when one or more of our young english players start showing a bit of form they suddenly start being touted for england and i suppose you can't blame a young player wanting to play for his country.I would much prefer they concentrated on trying to help arsenal actually win something than thinking about england at this stage maybe to get injured and sent back to arsenal to sort. - Post No. 29381
ppp 2:42am 11th Oct 2012
I agree it's a shame about Smalling but if we'd got him then we probably wouldn't have bought Mertersacker who is a brilliant centre back. Waiting for Smalling to develop instead of the joy of Per doesn't seem so attractive despite the fact that Smalling is supposedly an Arsenal fan. I'd take Mertesacker and Podolski over Smalling and Ashley Young anyday. - Post No. 29390
Kevin Kong 3:46am 11th Oct 2012
Agree with Dan H- The longer any young player stays away from those clowns in the England squad the better. - Post No. 29392
Gotang 13:30pm 12th Oct 2012
It's difficult not to love a player who is also a propa bone fide AFC fan:- Jenkinson Wilshere Frimpong Henry George These are the players that will run through walls for us, not the likes of VP, Nasri, Adebayor, goodbye and good riddance to these mercenaries. COYG - Post No. 29433
20th May 2013
Online Ed: 4th place trophy and CL qualifier secured