After two loan spells at West Ham United and then a serious knee injury, Carl Jenkinson is ready to challenge Hector Bellerin for Arsenal’s right-back spot.
The England defender made his return in the EFL Cup win over Reading, 898 days since his previous appearance in red, and is now in line to start his first Champions League game since December 2013 against Ludogorets on Tuesday night.
It’s been a tough two years for Jenkinson, but he is keen to focus on the positives and what he has learnt from his experiences.
"Learning how to deal with certain situations in every day life has helped me mature a lot and I think it’s similar on the pitch"
“I’ve definitely grown up a lot,” he told the Arsenal Weekly podcast. “I like to think I’ve always been quite a mature lad, but learning how to deal with certain situations in every day life has helped me mature a lot and I think it’s similar on the pitch.
“I’m better at making decisions and that comes with experience. I’ve played a lot of football over the last couple of years for someone my age, probably about 50 odd times in the Premier League.
“That was fantastic for me and that experience is invaluable. I think I’ve matured as a player and a person, that’s probably the main thing I can take from the last few years.
“Having come back into the team, there’s generally a lot of optimism around the team and the squad at the moment,” the 24-year-old added. “That’s not to say that there wasn’t a couple of years ago, but you can sense that there’s a strong belief within the squad, the staff and everyone at the training ground.
“Every day you can sense there’s a real belief that we can achieve things now. That’s been evident since I’ve been back and it’s good to see and feel that as a player.”
More polls coming soon...