Premier League debutant Carl Jenkinson says Arsenal’s youngster players will “step up to the mark and take responsibility” against Udinese on Wednesday and he doesnt think there “can be too many complaints” from their display against Liverpool on the weekend.
The 19-year-old wing back made his Premier League debut against Liverpool at the weekend and the consistent flow of injuries to senior players means he is likely to feature again in Italy on Wednesday.
Ignasi Miquel and Emmanuel Frimpong, both 19, were also part of a youthful-looking side at Emirates Stadium on Saturday and both provided solid performances, but still succumbed to making a mistake respectively that maturity would have prevented. Henri Lansbury also made an appearance who was another with relative inexperience, however he failed to produce anything of note during his brief outing.
Jenkinson feels that the youngsters are up for challenge that awaits in the Champions League qualification match:
“There are a lot of young players in the squad, me included,” he said. “But we are there for a reason – people believe in us – and all of us young ones have to step up to the mark and take responsibility, and that is what we will do.
“Our squad is stretched, that is quite obvious, but the people who have come in did well [against Liverpool] so I don’t think there can be too many complaints.
“We are going to have ups and downs but that is part of football. We did well against Udinese and then things did not go our way with Liverpool. But we will bounce back.
“We have got a lot of quality and will come back from this, without a doubt.”
There is no doubt that the likes of Jenkinson, Miquel and Frimpong are talented players, but there is no way that they should be first team starters at this stage of the season. They need more maturity around them too during games in order to develop and keep a level head. Wenger has said he will bring in maturity, I hope that comes in the form of Jagielka or Cahill at the back at least.