Arsenal defender Carl Jenkinson insists that he is ready to become the Gunners first choice right-back should Sagna leave the club this summer.
The French international has rejected couple of extension offers and has been linked with a transfer to Manchester City among other clubs. Jenkinson played second fiddle to Sagna last term and was limited to just seven Premier League starts for the Gunners.
However, the Englishman is confident that he has what it takes to step up when Sagna’s stay at Emirates Stadium comes to an end.
According to Evening Standard, he said:
I feel that I am ready for it. It is never going to be easy to nail down that spot but I believe in myself and I believe in my ability.
I want that position to be mine for years to come. Of course I have got a long way to go, because this is a club who look for the best players in the world. If I am going to hold down the position for as long as I want to, I have got a lot of hard work on my hands. But I believe in myself.
I am the sort of player who needs to play regularly to get the best out of me. My fitness and my athleticism is a big part of my game, getting up and down the pitch. It is difficult to show what I can do when I am not playing regularly because it is hard to get into a rhythm.
As far as I am concerned, you will have to drag me out of this club before I leave. I will work my socks off and hopefully next season can be a big one for me. If I have a good pre-season, work my way into the team and get a good run of games, there will be no holding me back.
Sagna has been an unsung hero at the club for the past few seasons and has been a vital part of the club’s resurgence, helping them win the FA Cup final against Hull City earlier in the month, but has now confirmed that he is set to leave the club in the summer. The only other option for that position at the club currently is young Carl Jenkinson, who has accumulated a wealth of experience since joining the club in 2011, but has always found himself second-choice behind Sagna.
The youngster impressed in the early stages of this season when Laurent Koscielny was absent through injury, forcing Sagna to shift into a central-defence role. He looked at home, but he was never going to keep his place in the long run. He now has the chance to make the position his own and due to his age, he would be able to maintain his starting place for years to come. However, it is a big test for such a young player and despite impressing in the past, it may be a step too far.
I don’t think he will be able to be as commanding as Sagna and would be exploited by the opposition, who might identify this as an area of weakness. Arsenal can’t afford to have any weak spots if they are hoping to reach the heights that they aspire and I feel the Gunners must bring in an experienced player who can help Jenkinson to develop and may be the youngster who can make that position his own in the future.
Can Jenkinson replace Sagna? Share your thoughts in the comments below.