By Chris Harris

Carl Jenkinson has the potential to be "one of the best" in his position, according to Bacary Sagna.

The battle for the Arsenal right-back spot has intensified this season since Jenkinson deputised admirably for Sagna while he recovered from a broken leg.

Jenkinson turned heads during his 12-match stint and has been tipped for international honours soon. Sagna won his place back for the last two Premier League fixtures but he expects serious competition from his team-mate.

"Of course," said the France international. "We always have the same battle and that is to fight for the shirt at Arsenal and bring the team to the top.

"I am very happy for him because he did very well. For me it will push me to give the maximum game by game. I have the opportunity now so I will give the maximum. If he is playing then I will push him to become one of the best right backs. And that is what he has the potential to be."

Arsenal's early-season strength in defence has been less evident of late and Sagna knows a clean sheet would come in very handy against an impressive Schalke side in Germany on Tuesday night.

"As a defender, it is never nice to concede goals," said Sagna. "We know we have to improve defensively and offensively as well. That’s our target and we are working hard to do it.

"We are professional footballers and we want to finish first [in Group B]. We want to win the maximum amount of games. This is big challenge now to be the best in the group. But as players we always want to be the best. It would mean we play against a team who finish second in their group.

"But at this stage of the competition every team is good. So we have to keep focused on our team, keep going and keep working hard."

Copyright 2014 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 5 Nov 2012