Carl Jenkinson has been hugely impressive during his loan spell at West Ham, and Arsene Wenger insists that the young right-back still has a place at the club.
It was a bit of a surprise when the England international was sent out on loan for the season, with the decision questioned further following the nasty injury to Mathieu Debuchy.
Jenkinson has enjoyed plenty of first team football while away from the Emirates though, and we have consequently seen the emergence of one of the surprise stars of the season – Hector Bellerin.
Wenger claims he is thrilled with the progress Jenkinson has made, and revealed that he had discussed 23-year-old Gooner’s future with him recently.
“I met Carl this week to speak about his future,” the manager said, according to Arsenal’s official website.
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“We will sit down together at the end of the season, but my target is to keep him here at the club.
“He has had a great season for me and he has moved forward and overall he has gained a lot of confidence. The decision I have to make is do I bring him back now or does he need one more year now to play in the Premier League. It is not decided yet.”
Calum Chambers and Hector Bellerin deputised superbly in the absence of Debuchy, and Jenksinson would certainly face plenty of competition if he were to return next season. He has been excellent for Sam Allardyce’s side however, and it would be a shame to see him go.
There is, of course, the possibility of sending him out on loan for another season, but both Wenger and the player must decide if that is the best course of action.
“That’s what I have to decide at the end of the season,” Wenger continued.
“He needs experience. Carl is a young, very promising right back with top quality and he had a good year where he has really moved forward. It’s important that he has a good chance to play if he comes back.”
Another year on loan seems like the best option, as he is unlikely to see regular first team football at the Emirates. Debuchy is arguably still our first choice right-back, although Bellerin has certainly made a case to suggest otherwise. Jenkinson would no doubt see himself behind both men in the pecking order, but that could all change next year.
Bellerin has the potential to be our first choice for years to come, as the 20-year-old has shown unbelievable quality when given the chance this season. If Jenkinson can continue improving however, then given his age he could potentially push Debuchy out over the course of the next couple of seasons.