On January 19, Melbourne City FC announced that it had signed former Arsenal defender Carl Jenkinson on loan from Nottingham Forest until the end of the season.
The move has been seen by A-League fans as a statement of intent by the defending champions, as they plan to strengthen their defence with experience.
The 29-year-old has a near-decade worth of experience competing at the highest levels of English football.
So, who is Carl Jenkinson?
Who is Carl Jenkinson?
Jenkinson started his footballing career at Charlton Athletic when he was seven years old, where he developed his skills before being offered a scholarship in 2008 at the age of 16.
In 2010, Jenkinson had two successful loan spells from Charlton, which resulted in interest from his boyhood club Arsenal FC, who signed him in June the next year for an undisclosed fee of around £1 million.
When speaking on his move to Arsenal, Charlton Manager Chris Powell told BBC that he had high hopes for Jenkinson, and even backed him to become one of the best right-backs in the world.
“I want to put on record how much I admire Carl as a player and more importantly as a young man,” Powell told BBC Sports.
“If he grows into the right-back we all feel he could be, we could be talking about a player playing at the highest level for a long time.”
Jenkinson made his Arsenal debut in a Champions League group stage game against Udinese when he was subbed on in the 55th, minute and would even start his first Premier League game against Liverpool four days later.
Although he was seen as a rotation player, Jenkinson started more games in the 2012/13 season when his teammate Bacary Sagna was out injured.
His improved form was praised by the English media and fellow teammates including current Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta, who described the right-back as “consistent”.
The improved performances resulted in then Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger offering a new long-term deal to Jenkinson in 2012.
This coincided with other long-term deals with fellow youngsters Kieran Gibbs, Jack Wilshere, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Aaron Ramsey.
More Football News
- ‘Passion is not a crime’ – Bullpen send loud and clear message
- Grace Wilson is the A-Leagues first openly non-binary player
- The Socceroos will head to the nations capital for March World Cup Qualifier
The five players were dubbed as the ‘British Core of Arsenal’, players that were touted to dominate English football for the next decade.
Unfortunately for Jenkinson, for the next few years the right-back position was very competitive. Players such as Bacary Sagna, Calum Chambers, Mathieu Debuchy and Hector Bellerin were all fighting for the number one spot.
When called upon, Jenkinson always put 100 per cent into his performances for the club.
Due to lack of playing time, Jenkinson was loaned out to West Ham for the next two seasons, where he became a mainstay for the Hammers. However, during a game against Manchester City in January 2016 he suffered a torn ligament in his left knee. This resulted in him returning to Arsenal.
Jenkinson told the Arsenal website that the loans to East London were a huge factor in his development.
“Generally, I feel like I’ve improved in a lot of areas,” Jenkinson said.
“In my first season under Sam Allardyce, he encouraged me to get forward and get crosses in, which is something I love to do so I feel like I improved that a lot.
“It was an invaluable experience for me and I’m very happy with how it went.”
After rehabbing his knee, Jenkinson would only make six more appearances for Arsenal before being sold to Nottingham Forest for around £2 million In 2019.
He would only play 11 times as he was hampered with injuries before completing his loan move to Melbourne City in 2022.
It is unquestionable that Jenkinson has worked with some of the world’s best managers and players, and this wealth of knowledge and experience can only benefit Melbourne City and the A-League.
With the now 29-year-old set to finish the remainder of his season with the City Blues, Australian football fans are hoping that he can show the talent that Arsene Wenger saw in him all those years ago.
Subscribe to our newsletter!