In part two of our Q&A with Carl Jenkinson, he tells us how special Finland is to him ahead of Arsenal's game against Manchester City in Helsinki on Saturday.
You travel to Helsinki to face Manchester City at the Olympic Stadium - how much are you looking forward to that?
It will be a great experience for me. I have a lot of family and friends in Finland so it's a very special occasion for me and for them. I've heard it's a sell-out, although I think my parents bought half the tickets - that's how many people they've got coming! It will be a real privilege to play at the Olympic Stadium.
So how many tickets have your relations and friends got for the game?!
I think we fell out with the person handing out the tickets because there weren't enough! I think we've got about 40 or 50 tickets. All my family are going and I've got quite a few friends going so it will be a nice occasion for us all.
Last summer I was watching the European Athletics Championships at the stadium that we're going to be playing in, so it will be amazing to return there and playCarl Jenkinson
How special is Finland to you?
Massively. I have a lot of fond memories from trips to Finland throughout my life, from when I've been as a kid all the way up until now. Last summer I was watching the European Athletics Championships at the stadium that we're going to be playing in, so it will be amazing to return there and play.
What is your family's background and link to Finland?
My mum is Finnish and moved to England when she married my dad and I would go over there probably twice a year [when I was younger]. I spent a lot of Christmases out there with the family and it's a lovely place. It's very picturesque and always snows at Christmas so as a kid it was amazing. I've spent a lot of time out there over the years and I've got a lot of good friends and family out there. I've got a lot of fond memories.
So do you speak the language?
No, not really. Bits and bobs but only the basics to be honest - and even they're not that great! It's a difficult language to grasp. Fortunately a lot of my friends and family speak good English so I'm lucky in that sense.
What places would you visit when you went over there?
It would always be to see the family. They lived in a very small town called Box so we used to go there for a week or two when I had the time off school. It would be like a day out to travel into Helsinki and have a look around. We used to go to ice hockey matches. My mum lived on a farm so most of my memories are from there, sledging and just enjoying the snow as a kid, which was what all kids want to do at Christmas. In the summer I've got a lot of fond memories from playing football out there. It stays light very late so it would be 1am and me and my dad and my brother would be playing football on the local grass pitch, which was quite surreal. It was pretty awesome!
It stays light very late so it would be 1am and me and my dad and my brother would be playing football on the local grass pitch, which was quite surreal!Carl Jenkinson
How important is football in Finland?
Ice hockey is the main sport but football is getting bigger. Maybe football will never compete with ice hockey but it's getting bigger and bigger. I've heard that our game out there is going to be a sell out, which would be amazing. A lot of my friends out there all follow English clubs - there's a lot of love for the English game. It will be great to play in front of the fans.
What about Manchester City - how tough will it be against them?
It's one of the best yardsticks you can have. Man City are a massive side and only two seasons ago, they were champions. They've got a great squad and we need to test ourselves against teams of that stature because we're going to be playing against them. It will be a good test for us to see where we are fitness-wise. It's a perfect game to have as the last match of pre-season.Copyright 2013 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 9 Aug 2013