Arsene Wenger has admitted it was a tough decision to leave Carl Jenkinson out of Saturday’s game with QPR but has been quick to praise the youngster for the progress he’s made this season.
The return of Bacary Sagna gave the manager a selection dilemma and it was the Frenchman’s greater experience which won the day. Sagna put in a very good performance but Arsene Wenger admits Jenkinson, who will play tonight against Reading the Capital One Cup, has really given him something to think about.
“It was a tough decision, very tough,” he said. “The team was a bit low in confidence and I felt experience at the back could help. Of course Bacary Sagna has an advantage on Jenkinson in experience.
“But I am very, very happy and thrilled with what Jenkinson has done until now and he will play again this season of course.”
Having endured a difficult baptism at Arsenal, including that traumatic day at Old Trafford, Jenkinson was further hindered by a stress fracture in his back, meaning he missed out on a spell of first team football last season.
This time around, however, he took full advantage of Sagna’s absence to show the manager he’s got two right backs to choose from, something that’s not lost on Wenger.
“I would like to give credit to Carl,” he continued. “What he has done is extremely promising and he is so young, so where he is now at his age now is fantastic.
“Two years ago he was playing in League One, and where he is now is fantastic.”
As long as he’s fit Sagna remains the first choice at the moment, he’s one of the best right backs in Europe, but even he took time to praise the Arsenal supporting youngster who will provide real competition and add depth to the first team squad as the season goes on.