By Rob Kelly
Carl Jenkinson admits adapting to life in the Premier League has been a “steep learning curve” but believes the experience has made him a stronger person.
The 20-year-old defender was playing on loan at non-league Eastbourne Borough eight months before his move to Arsenal last June.
It was a rapid rise for the right back and while he admits he took some time to adapt, he is satisfied with how his first season at the Club has gone.
“I didn't start how I would have liked to, but an honest assessment would be that as I have progressed, got more minutes under my belt and trained with the boys I definitely feel like I have improved a lot,” Jenkinson told Arsenal Player.
“It was a very steep learning curve for me. I believed I was capable of playing at the highest level, and sometimes it is about getting seen by the right people at the right time.
“I have had some tough times but I feel like I have come out of it a bigger and better person, and a better player.
“In a football career you are going to have ups and downs and tough times, but people have told me it is about how you respond to those tough times that will make or break you as a footballer.”
One of the toughest challenges for Jenkinson came at Old Trafford in August, when he was sent off on just his second Premier League start.
“It was all a little bit of a blur,” he said. “It was tough day for me and the Club and it was very hard to swallow.
“We had played Udinese in midweek and I felt I had done quite well. That was a massive high, so to go from that to Old Trafford was strange. It happened so quickly.
“It was a disappointing day for me and it took me a while to get over. It was my first taste of a tough result, but things like that make you stronger, and build you as a man and a character.”
Despite that experience, Jenkinson made major strides forward over the following months and featured in the memorable victories against Chelsea and Tottenham.
“It has been a real rollercoaster,” he said. “I have had some tough times and some fantastic times. Chelsea, Spurs and Udinese are games I will never forget.
“It is my first season as an Arsenal player and games like the one at Stamford Bridge were just fantastic. You don’t score five goals there very often so that will stay in the memory for a long time.
“Overall I am relatively pleased [with his first season]. I know I have an awful lot to build on, and a lot to improve on. But I have got more in myself to show people, so that is my aim.”
Watch the full interview with Carl on Arsenal Player.