By Nik Brumsack
Arsenal legend Lee Dixon is impressed with the improvements Carl Jenkinson has made to his game - and believes it was only a matter of time before the 20-year-old received an England call-up.
Jenkinson has been included in Roy Hodgson’s squad for the friendly against Sweden next Wednesday, providing he receives international clearance from FIFA, after having previously represented Finland at youth level.
Dixon was the last Arsenal right back to earn a senior England cap and he is delighted Jenkinson’s consistent start to the season has been rewarded.
“He’s certainly got potential to be an international player,” Dixon told Arsenal.com. “The important thing with young lads like that is you let their progress go unhindered.
“He seems like a good kid. I don’t know him but I’d like to sit down with him and have a chat to find out what his thoughts are. I’d like to get to know him a bit but I believe he’s a really good kid and he’s got a huge future ahead of him.
“As a player, you want a chance to play and show what you can do, as well as learning as you’re playing. It’s important you get those opportunities. Sometimes you don’t always get a chance to get a run of first-team games because it’s not your time. I like him a lot. I think he’s got a lot of attributes to go towards being a very good full back.”
The similarities between Dixon and Jenkinson go beyond their England roles. Both men also spent time in the lower leagues before being given their chance at the top level.
“It’s a big step and he’s done it a little bit differently to me,” Dixon said. “He’s only played about five minutes for Charlton before he came. I played quite a few games in the lower league and knew a little bit about was I was doing. It was still a big leap [for me] to come to Arsenal.
“He’s gone right in the deep end. He’s an Arsenal lad as well so it’s good to see. The fans relate to it - they can see his passion. He’s still got a lot to learn but I see a lot of potential in him going on and being a top class full back.
“As long as he keeps trying to learn and progress, and not think he’s made it when he’s played 50 games, then he’s got a real chance.”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 8 Nov 2012