Carl Jenkinson believes he’s become a better player under the tutelage of Unai Emery and his assistant Juan Carlos Carcedo and says he’s enjoying life at Arsenal even if he’s not played as much football as he might have liked.
The right-back has featured seven times this season across four competitions providing back up whenever necessary to the likes of Hector Bellerin, Stephan Lichtsteiner and Ainsley Maitland-Niles. While he’s not faced the toughest of opponents, the 27-year-old has acquitted himself well with the team unbeaten whenever he’s played.
In a wide-ranging interview in The Times (£), life-long Gooner Jenkinson reflected on his season, one that has seen him consolidate his bond with the fans.
“I’ve got a huge amount of respect for the manager, He pays attention to every single detail,” he told Henry Winter.
“The analysis before games is always in-depth. And after I’ve played a game, it’s not, ‘You’ve done well’, that’s the end of it. I sit down with Carcedo and we go through clips. It’s such an education. I’ve learnt an awful lot about positioning.
“Of course, I’d love to be playing more regularly and I’d be playing better if I was playing more regularly.
“But for someone who has not played as much as I’d have liked, the fact that I’m sitting here, saying how much I’ve enjoyed playing under this manager and his coaching staff, says a lot about the management. I feel I’ve become a better player under them.”
Jenkinson will be out of contract in the summer and realistically, it’s unlikely that he’ll be handed a new deal. It’ll draw to a close an eight-year stint at the Emirates that will have seen him outlast every other member of the vaunted ‘British core’ aside from Aaron Ramsey.
Having experienced the highs and lows of Wenger’s final years at the club, and having played alongside some big personalities, Jenkinson is well placed to talk about the quality of the atmosphere in the camp. He’s impressed.
“There’s a real collective spirit,” he says. “You don’t always have that in team environments. We’ve got proper world-class players who are all about the team and not about themselves. They’re good characters, good lads. ”
If you happen to have a subscription to The Times, it’s well worth reading the full interview which includes mentions of tactical sessions with Lee Dixon over coffee, his love for the club and why it means so much to him to hear the fans sing his name.