Carl Jenkinson: Charlton To Champions League

In just two short years, Carl Jenkinson has launched himself from his humble lower league beginnings, to the forefront of world football.

At the age of 18, Carl Jenkinson made his first appearance for Charlton Athletic, in the Football League Trophy Southern Section semi-final game against Brentford. Jenkinson played 90 minutes at right back. The game ended in a 0-0 draw.

Following two short loan spells at Eastbourne Borough & Welling United respectively, Arsenal made a formal £1million bid for the Jenkinson’s signature. Charlton, probably thinking that Christmas had come early, accepted the offer, and on June 8th 2011, Arsene Wenger signed the lifelong Arsenal fan on a permanent deal.

[title]Living The Dream[/title]

It’s every Arsenal fan’s fantasy to pull on the jersey and walk out on to the pristine turf of the Emirates Stadium. After having just signed, Carl was certainly looking forward to his first appearance. However, he probably didn’t anticipate having to do it so soon, or on such a grand stage.

Thanks to an injured Bacary Sagna, Jenkinson was thrust into a fierce debut in Arsenal’s Champions League qualifier against Udinese, at the age of just 19. Despite the difficult task, Carl put in a solid performance, and the fans immediately warmed to his passionate & determined style of play. His hunger was evident.

Carl went on to make 9 appearances at right back, as well as 5 substitute appearances for the club, laying down some solid foundations to build upon in the approaching campaign.[quote_right]”There’s nothing worse than standing still, and it’s really obvious that Carl is making big steps every single week.” – Thomas Vermaelen[/quote_right]

The commencement of the 2012/2013 season saw yet another injury to Bacary Sagna, allowing Jenkinson a second chance to build on his promising start. He helped secure two clean sheets against Sunderland & Stoke City, cementing his place in the first team. Since then, Jenkinson has put in a number of stellar performances, and even claiming Man of The Match at home against Chelsea.

His exciting performances, as well as his ever growing relationship with the fans, means that Carl Jenkinson is now providing Bacary Sagna with a genuine concern over his status once he returns from injury.

Jenkinson himself has not only gained the trust of Arsene Wenger, but has also earned the praise of his new captain, Thomas Vermaelen, “It’s really important for any player to keep improving – there’s nothing worse than standing still, and it’s really obvious that Carl is making big steps every single week.”

[title]Carl’s Crossroads[/title]

Carl Jenkinson has got himself off to a great start at Arsenal, and his future at club level looks auspicious. However, he now stands at a crossroads. Carl is currently eligible to represent either England or Finland, and must decide between the two.

The Finnish Football Association are keen to capture the youngster, and Carl himself has admitted that he hasn’t decided upon which route to take, and would rather concentrate on his club football for the time being.

[quote_left]”A life long Arsenal fan, combined with performances full of tenacity and guile. The perfect recipe for becoming a fan favourite.”[/quote_left]However, Carl has recently drawn praise from the England manager, Roy Hodgson, “…Jenkinson has done exceptionally well for Arsenal. He’ll be very much in our thoughts when it comes to the next friendly match. He wouldn’t be out of place in the squad.”

These statements followed Carl Jenkinson’s emergency draft into the England senior training session at London Colney, which, although doesn’t make him eligible to play, may be a major sign of intent from the youngster. It is expected that Roy Hodgson will call him up for the upcoming friendly with Sweden in Gothenburg.

Despite the uncertainty of national allegiance, one thing is for sure, Carl Jenkinson has an exciting future ahead of him. A life long Arsenal fan, combined with performances full of tenacity and guile. The perfect recipe for becoming a fan favourite.

What’s your opinion of Carl Jenkinson? Share your views on the youngster in the comments section below.

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