Jenkinson delighted to be living the dream

Young full-back thrown in at deep end for Arsenal is happy just to be playing for his boyhood idols

Carl Jenkinson has revealed he is still pinching himself that he is an Arsenal player and admitted he has a long way to go before becoming their first-choice right-back.

Lifelong Gunners fan Jenkinson could hardly have enjoyed a more meteoric rise in the past 12 months, having gone from making his senior debut in non-league football to playing at the Emirates Stadium, Old Trafford, Stamford Bridge, and in the Champions League.

The 19-year-old, who was starring on loan for Conference side Eastbourne this time last year, joined Arsenal from League One Charlton during the summer.

Jenkinson would have been expecting a limited role at his new club but found himself thrown in at the deep end as injuries ravaged Arsène Wenger's rearguard. It proved a real baptism of fire for the young defender, who was on the losing side in his first three Premier League appearances, including the humiliating 8-2 thrashing at Manchester United, where he was also sent off.

But as Arsenal have improved, so has Jenkinson, and Wenger has kept faith with his summer signing at right-back while Bacary Sagna recovers from a broken leg.

"Sometimes, I just have to take a step back and really appreciate where I am," Jenkinson said. "For me to come from where I was to playing in the Premier League is obviously a big achievement. But the main thing I have to pinch myself about is that I'm actually playing for Arsenal.

"I can't really portray how special that is for a fan of the club and for someone who comes from a family that loves Arsenal so much. It's just a great thing to be becoming a part of Arsenal's history. Long may it continue."

Jenkinson admitted top-flight football had been something of a culture shock. He said: "I'm settling in better now and I think people are slowly starting to see me as a player and what I can do. There have been ups and downs, as you all know.

"That's part of life. From the downs, you can always learn a lot. Overall, I've really enjoyed it and hopefully there'll be some more good times to come."

Wenger had looked inclined to play one of his centre-backs out of position on the right during Sagna's absence but ultimately decided to put his faith in youth once more.

"It's a very flattering thing for him to do that and believe in me," Jenkinson added. "I've got the ability and I have it in me to be playing now – it's just up to me to play well, take my chances and make sure I keep that place.

"Obviously, over the years he's put faith in youngsters but when it's you, you're that bit more grateful. There's a lot more improvement [to come] and I know I have a lot more in me. I know I have to improve if I want to be a regular at this football club."

Wenger has seen many of the players he has developed move on and there have been reports that star midfielder Jack Wilshere is on a Real Madrid wishlist leaked to the Spanish press.

There will doubtless come a time when Wilshere will have to decide where he sees himself in the long term.

Jenkinson is in the midst of a dilemma over his own future, having yet to decide whether to pledge his allegiance to England or to his mother's native Finland, having represented both at youth level.

He said: "I honestly could not tell you what my decision will be because it's something I'm going to have to think about in depth."

Meanwhile, Bordeaux president Jean-Louis Triaud has claimed he has been snubbed in his attempts to bring Moroccan international striker Marouane Chamakh back to the club.

"In the last two months, I have been leaving messages with Marouane," Triaud said. "I also left messages with Arsène Wenger but I got no answer. His silence shows probably that he still hopes he will make it at Arsenal."

Wenger maintains he takes no personal sense of gratification from Arsenal's recent resurgence – and insists there is "room for improvement".

After a disastrous start to the new season, when they lost four of their opening seven Premier League matches, the Gunners have now chalked up four straight wins. They are also in command of their Champions League group and have reached the quarter-finals of the Carling Cup, where they will host Manchester City.

"At the moment I feel we are more focused – saying 'look I am right' is less important for me than trying to continue the quality of our team and our results," the manager said.

Voices
voicesMoyes' tragedy is one the Deputy PM understands all too well, says Matthew Norman
Arts & Entertainment
William Shakespeare's influence on English culture is still strongly felt today, from his plays on stage to words we use everyday
arts
News
Matthew Mcnulty and Jessica Brown Findlay in 'Jamaica Inn'
mediaHundreds complain over dialogue levels in period drama
Arts & Entertainment
Rocker of ages: Chuck Berry
musicWhy do musicians play into old age?
VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Arts & Entertainment
With Jo Joyner in 'Trying Again'
tvHe talks to Alice Jones on swapping politics for pillow talk
News
Jilly's jewels: gardener Alan Titchmarsh
peopleCountry Life magazine's list of 'gallant' public figures throws light on what it means to be a gentleman in the modern world
Sport
John Terry goes down injured in the 70th minute
sportAtletico Madrid 0 Chelsea 0: Blues can finish the job at Stamford Bridge, but injuries to Terry and Cech are a concern for Mourinho
Student
student
News
<b>Rebecca Adlington</b>
<br />This, the first British swimmer to win two
Olympic gold medals in 100 years, is the eversmiling
face of the athletes who will, we're
confident, make us all proud at London 2012
peopleRebecca Adlington on 'nose surgery'
Arts & Entertainment
tvJudge for yourself
Life & Style
tech
News
Tough call: is the psychological distress Trott is suffering an illness? (Getty)
healthJonathan Trott and the problems of describing mental illness
Life & Style
23 April 2014: Google marks St George's Day with a drawing depicting England's patron saint slaying a fire-breathing dragon
tech
Life & Style
On the dogwalk: a poodle on the runway during a Mulberry show in London
fashionThe duo behind Asos and Achica have launched a new venture offering haute couture to help make furry companions fashionable
News
peopleEmma Appleton says photographer said he would shoot her for magazine if she slept with him
Extras
indybest
News
peopleRevealed: Goop.com's losses - and the pay rises
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Brits who migrate to Costa del Sol more unhappy than those who stay at home

It's not always fun in the sun: Moving abroad does not guarantee happiness

Brits who migrate to Costa del Sol more unhappy than those who stay at home
Migrants in Britain a decade on: They came, they worked, they stayed in Lincolnshire

Migrants in Britain a decade on

They came, they worked, they stayed in Lincolnshire
Chris Addison on swapping politics for pillow talk

Chris Addison on swapping politics for pillow talk

The 'Thick of It' favourite thinks the romcom is an 'awful genre'. So why is he happy with a starring role in Sky Living's new Lake District-set series 'Trying Again'?
Why musicians play into their old age

Why musicians play into their old age

Nick Hasted looks at how they are driven by a burning desire to keep on entertaining fans despite risking ridicule
How can you tell a gentleman?

How can you tell a gentleman?

A list of public figures with gallant attributes by Country Life magazine throws a fascinating light on what it means to be a gentleman in the modern world
Pet a porter: posh pet pampering

Pet a porter: posh pet pampering

The duo behind Asos and Achica have launched a new venture offering haute couture to help make furry companions fashionable
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: The mutiny that sent a ripple of fear through the Empire

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

The mutiny that sent a ripple of fear through the Empire
Hot stuff: 10 best kettles

Hot stuff: 10 best kettles

Celebrate St George’s Day with a nice cup of tea. Now you just need to get the water boiled
Sam Wallace: Why Giggs is perfect fit as Manchester United boss... in the longer term

Sam Wallace

Why Ryan Giggs is perfect fit as Manchester United boss... in the longer term
Renaud Lavillenie: The sky's the limit for this pole vaulter's ambitions

Renaud Lavillenie: The sky's the limit for this pole vaulter's ambitions

Having smashed Sergei Bubka's 21-year-old record, the French phenomenon tells Simon Turnbull he can go higher
Through the screen: British Pathé opens its archives

Through the screen

British Pathé opens its archives
The man behind the papier mâché mask

Frank Sidebottom

The man behind the papier mâché mask
Chris Marker: Mystic film-maker with a Midas touch

Mystic film-maker with a Midas touch

Chris Marker retrospective is a revelation
Boston runs again: Thousands take to the streets for marathon as city honours dead and injured of last year's bombing

Boston runs again

Thousands of runners take to the streets as city honours dead of last year
40 years of fostering and still holding the babies (and with no plans to retire)

40 years of fostering and holding the babies

In their seventies and still working as specialist foster parents