Gunners right-back Carl Jenkinson has decided to pick the English national side over Finland, however he must gain international clearance before being able to feature for the Three Lions.
The all-action youngster has a Finnish mother, and has represented the Finland Under-21 side already so it was understood that he initially was going to wait it out until he was of age to feature for the Finland senior side.
But after recent developments, including a call-up to train with the English squad, it seems the young right back will in fact choose to forgo playing for Finland and choose his birth country instead.
England manager Roy Hodgson told reporters:
He didn’t take a lot of convincing. We had a problem with Kyle Walker and wanted a full complement in our training session, so we called Carl up. He was in my thoughts anyway.
I invited him to train with us knowing full well he couldn’t take part in this game, but it gave me the opportunity to sit down and ask him the question.
I don’t want to trick him to play for England in a few minutes in a game to block him, but he had to make a decision because we’re very interested in him, even if the competition is tougher to get him into the England team rather than the Finland team. He made it very clear he wanted to play for England.
This is big news for the youngster and for the Gunners as it seems the days of having the odd England international is behind us..for now. Jenkinson, Gibbs, The Ox, Walcott and Wilshere are all still young and will be pushing for regular starting spots in the English setup.
Jenkinson has shown a great deal of development over the past twelve months and the fact that he is even considered for an international call-up is testament to his and Arsenal’s hard work. It is a wise decision to choose England not only as they are a stronger side but because half of their games will be on English soil, so it will mean less travelling for the youngster on international breaks.
Wenger’s philosophy has often been to develop young French talent but with that came a lack of commitment long-term to Arsenal, generally speaking. The Frenchman himself has admitted this in the past, and has hoped to develop a strong English contingent that will be loyal to the Gunners and finish their careers here on their home turf. He is certainly on track to developing an English backbone to the current squad.
Congratulations to Jenkinson, an incredible achievement to be considered for the English national side already, hopefully you can pip the Spuds Kyle Walker to the backup right back slot.
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