Only 18 months ago Carl Jenkinson was standing in the crowd at the Emirates (“sit down over there…”) watching the Gunners with members of his Arsenal mad family. Now, despite being sidelined with a knee problem, he’s a major player in the firs team squad. He is living the dream, and on a day-to-day basis he still seems to be pinching himself.
Take for example these lovely comments about Robin van Persie, club captain and idol to millions, with whom he found himself sharing an ice bath after the Dutchman’s brace against Sunderland. A man-crush perhaps?
“I was in the ice bath with him after and really wanted to say to him that he’s the sort of person that makes it so special to play for a club like Arsenal – but I bottled it!
“Robin is the kind of guy you dream of playing with, doing things like he did against Sunderland, and I’m awestruck at the things he can do with a football. I look up to him so much – he always brings me under his wing and gives me little tips, which I really appreciate.
“It’s just an honour and privilege to play alongside him if I’m honest.”
Having put in a swashbuckling shift against Marseille in the Stade Velodrome, Jenkinson was warmly praised by supporters for laying down a clear marker of his improvement since moving from Charlton in the summer.
While his crosses were dangerous it was his high-energy levels and constant charges up and down the right wing which particularly caught the imagination. Touching on his all-action style with the official matchday programme, the 19-year-old revealed a family-history of high stamina.
“My dad used to be a runner! He tells everyone about how he ran with Sebastian Coe so I guess it’s something in the family. I guess my fitness is one of my main assets – people at the Club were quite surprised when I came top in the running in pre-season but that’s a strength of mine so I have to use it to my advantage.”