Tag Archives: Carl Jenkinson

Carl Jenkinson – Lived the Dream

I imagine when Carl Jenkinson brings out his autobiography, the title would be “Lived the Dream”.

Jenkinson might not have been the best player to pull on the red and white of Arsenal, and was probably never good enough, but he has done what every fan dreams of. Playing for the club he loves.

Over the years some people have criticised him for being unambitious, being deadwood, and calling for him to go. But most real fans will know why he stayed at Arsenal for as long as possible. He loves the club.

In pubs across London, most of us have had the debate. Would you rather play once for Arsenal and not have a football career, or play 500+ games for other clubs but never pull on the Arsenal shirt.

I have always said I would rather play once for Arsenal, and I am sure most fans would agree.

Playing once for the club you love, the club you grew up watching is the dream for all of us. Jenkinson would have been just like you and me growing up.

Playing football in your back garden and pretending to be Liam Brady, Ian Wright, Dennis Bergkamp, Thierry Henry, or whoever you had on the back of your shirt. The difference between Jenkinson and us is he got to wear that shirt for real, 70 times.

In those days of playing in the back garden or over the park, how many goals did you celebrate whilst pretending to be your hero? Jenkinson got to do it for real n the last day of the 2013/14 season, scoring in a  2–0 victory over Norwich City. It is what dreams are made of.

Jenkinson joined Charlton Athletic as a seven-year-old, signing his first professional contract in 2010. A couple of loan deals followed, firstly to Welling United and then to Eastbourne Borough. Jenkinson went on to make 11 appearances for Charlton before Arsenal secured his signature in June 2011 for a fee thought to be around £1 million.

It was on August 16th that Jenkinson did what we all dreamed of, making his debut for Arsenal in the final qualifying round of the UEFA Champions League against Udinese, as a 55th-minute substitute for the injured left-back Johan Djourou. 4 days later he made his Premier League debut against Liverpool, starting at right back.

For the next 3 seasons he would play over 50 games for Arsenal, regularly being called upon when Bacary Sagna picked up an injury.

He also made his England debut in 2012, coming on as a 74th-minute substitute for Glen Johnson in a 4–2 friendly defeat against Sweden.

On 11 May 2014 Jenkinson scored THAT goal against Norwich.

In 2014, due to Hector Bellerin’s break through, Jenkinson joined West Ham on loan, where he performed admirably becoming their first-choice right back for the season.

Summer of 2015 he was heavily linked with a permanent move to West Ham. Instead he signed a new long-term contract with Arsenal, before rejoining the Hammers on loan for a second season. In January 2016 he suffered a knee injury which would rule him out for a year.

A criticism of Jenkinson is that he has seemingly preferred to stay at Arsenal rather then play regularly elsewhere. However towards the end of 2016 he declared that it was time to move club t o seek regular football.

In the January 2017 transfer window, a fee was agreed for a permanent move to Crystal Palace, managed by Sam Allardyce with whom Jenkinson had worked at West Ham, but the player could not agree personal terms.

The next season he went on loan to Birmingham City in the Championship, where he failed to nail down a regular starting place. The next season he returned to Arsenal, masking 8 appearances in the 2018/19 season.

Jenkinson is the boy from Harlow, raised on the London Essex borders, who went from loan spells in non-league to playing for the club he loves.

Carl Jenkinson
Played for Arsenal
Scored for Arsenal
Played for England
Lived the dream

Advertisements

How will Arsenal solve right-back conundrum?

Arsenal need to address the right back situation in the summer.

With Hector Bellerin’s injury, Stephan Lichtsteiner demise, Ainsley Maitland-Niles not really stepping up & Carl Jenkinson’s contract set to run out, we could be starting 2019/20 without a recognised right back.

So what are Arsenal’s options?

Sign an established right back

The first option would for Arsenal to spend big and go for an established right back.

The fear could be for Arsenal that is Bellerin is out for the start of the season, signing a raw talent or promoting someone from the youth team could leave the side weak on the right hand side. After an injury like what Bellerin had, the odds are high that he might break down again.

Arsenal should therefore target top-flight proven right back. Someone who could come in and not just provide cover for Bellerin, but also competition to him.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka is the man that springs to mind for this role.

The Crystal Palace right back might be raw, but is not as raw as other candidates we will speak about later. At 21-years-old, he would have a season of top flight Premier League football under his belt and is currently pushing for an England place.

He would cost a lot of money, but if he fulfils his potential he could become even better than Bellerin.

A cheaper option could be long term Arsenal target Ferland Mendy. I imagine there are plenty of other similar talents on the clubs radar.

Sign a raw talent

A cheaper option than signing an established right back is to go for a raw talent.

Over at GunnersTown there is a brilliant scouting report on Houboulang Mendes. He is a 20-year-old Frenchman currently playing in Ligue 2. He has all the natural attributes to be an Arsenal right back, but sound like a very unpolished diamond.

There is also Max Aarons at Norwich. Another who comes with a high reputation but only has a year of Championship football under his belt.

The issue with these sort of players is they might not yet be ready for the Premier League. And if Bellerin is not fit and ready to go at the beginning of next season, they could be exposed and lose confidence before they have even started.

My feeling would be if we signed Aarons or Mendes we would want to put them out on loan for a year. This does not solve our immediate problem.

Promote Jordi Osei-Tutu

If we are going to sign a raw talent, why not promote one of our own?

Jordi Osei-Tutu may well have had a chance in the Arsenal first team this season had he not picked up an early season injury ruling him out for the first quarter of the season.

He would likely have got game time in the Europa League and League Cup had he been fit.

Like with Aarons and Mendes, it would be a huge risk to install Osei-Tutu as Bellerin’s back up. The better options, as with the other 2, would be to send him on loan for a season.

Moving for the likes of Mendes or Aarons; or promoting Osei-Tutu could be a good budget option in the long term, but it would require someone else to be signed in the short term to cover the next 12 months.

Keep Carl Jenkinson

One short term option could be to keep what we have in Carl Jenkinson.

His contract runs out at the end of this season. We could offer him a new 2 year deal on his currently salary – rumoured to be around £45,000 a week. He would then provide short term cover for Bellerin over the next 12 months, whilst his long term cover (Mendes, Aarons or Osei-Tutu) gets top flight experience out on loan.

Buy Lichtsteiner MK II

The deal for Stephan Lichtsteiner did make sense.

Experienced short term cover for Hector Bellerin allowing us another 12 months to develop either Ainsley-Maitland Niles or Jordi Osei-Tutu.

Unfortunately Maitland-Niles has not kicked on and Osei-Tutu picked up an injury. This leaves us in a similar situation last year.

If Unai Emery decides that he wants to go for a raw talent and that Jenkinson is not sufficient short-term cover, scouring the world for a senior right back whose contract has expired could be an option.

Atletico Madrid’s Juanfran seems best to suit this bill.

Experienced and Spanish, he is set to leave Atletico in the summer on a free transfer. Would a one-year deal in the Premier League interest him? Perhaps if we offer him similar money to Lichtsteiner.

It would then be a similar scenario to keeping Jenkinson.

Arsenal get in the experienced man to cover Bellerin whilst they develop a raw talent who spends a year out on loan.

Keenos

FIVE candidates to replace Hector Bellerin

There has not yet been official news out over the state of Hector Bellerin’s injury. Post match, Unai Emery described it as “not positive on first impression”.

From my years of watching football, it is safe to say that the Spanish right back will be out for the season.

It was one of those injuries where no one is near him, it was innocuous. The referee stopped play straight away and it was clear it was something serious. Whether is is an ACL injury or some other injury that we will now all pretend to be experts in, he will be out for some time. He might not return the same player.

With 10 days to go in the transfer window, Emery and the management  team have a decision to be made.

Do they attempt to bring someone in, or do they replace from within?

FIVE

The experienced right back was bought in to cover Hector Bellerin in case he got injured and has already started 13 games this season. It looks like father time has caught up on the serial winner.

He has been fairly average when playing. Some would be a lot harsher than that – although his worst performances have come when playing out of position in the centre of defence.

I doubt he will be with us next season, however he might find himself with a role to play this.

Will be the choice if we go for experience.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles

Against West Ham, Maitland-Niles was at right wing back ahead of Lichtsteiner. Although he was substituted on the half hour for Bellerin.

Whilst the utility man might see his future as a winger, and some fans see him as a central midfielder, it is at full back where he has started the vast majority of his games for Arsenal.

Of his 23 starts for Arsenal i neither the Premier League or Europa League, 19 have come at full back (14 at left back). His future at the club could well be as a full back.

Last season he was picked ahead of both Saed Kolasinac and Nacho Monreal at left back, such was his good form.

He has been out of form this season, but that is a lot to do with a lack of consistency in playing position.

Maitland-Niles certainly has the physical attributes to play at full back, he has pace and power and the engine to get up and down. He would also provide us the attacking outlet that the side relies on – our full backs are our width.

Defensive naivety is the concern.

He can switch off, or jog back when caught up the field. Although this is not unusual for a young full back.

Given the opportunity to play consistently at right back, his defensive instincts will naturally improve. He will also have Sokratis inside him and  – if we stick to the mdifield 3 who started against Chelsea – Lucas Torreira ahead.

If Maitland-Niles gets the chance, and proves himself to be adequate cover for Bellerin, it would mean we would not need to go out into the market in the summer to buy cover for Bellerin. The Englishman could step up as his long term understudy.

Carl Jenkinson

One of the criticisms of Maitland-Niles is “he is not a right back”. This line of thinking would lead some to support Carl Jenkinson starting.

It is incredible to think that Jenkinson turns 27 in February. He is certainly living the dream. But is living the dream enough?

He is certainly not a bad player – and it is easy to forget that he spent a year and a half at West Ham playing consistently at right back.

A bit like Maitland-Niles, if he gets a chance and takes it, the club may well decide that he is an adequate mid-term back up for Bellerin.

Personally I think he has had his chance, and it is time for someone else to get one.

If we are going to “give someone a chance” I would rather it be the younger man in Maitland-Niles.

Shkodran Mustafi

If I say we had a World Cup winning right back in our squad, you would probably ask “who?”. that man is German international Shkodran Mustafi.

Back in 2014, he was selected to start at right back in Germany’s round of 16 match against Algeria. It was only an injury that stopped him seeing out the tournament as Germany’s first choice full back.

Mustafi could do a job at right back, like he has done numerous times throughout his career. He would provide decent defensive cover, over and above anyone else on this list. However he will not provide any attacking threat.

At Arsenal, it is the full backs that give us the width. With no recognised wingers, playing Mustafi at right back would give us little to no threat on the right hand side.

Sign Someone

The last candidate is a new signing.

Whether it be a loan signing or a permanent signing, we would have 10 days to go out into the transfer market and secure someone.

The problem is who would we secure?

Someone on loan would likely not be playing at the club they are at. If they are not playing at AC Milan, Roma or whoever, would they then be a better option than Maitland-Niles? And would a top club in Europe, chasing a Champions League place, really want to loan out their second choice right back?

The alternative option is signing someone on a permanent deal, but who?

Do we go for someone who could be long term understudy for Bellerin? And if so how much should we invest in them – Aaron Wan-Bissaka would be north of £20m. Or do we go big. Go for someone better than Bellerin who will actually be his long term replacement. But is spending £35m+ on a right back sensible when we have so many other positions to upgrade on.

Keenos