After Arsène Wenger this week revealed that right-back Carl Jenkinson has lost confidence and is not completely himself, there’s plenty of questions about the defender’s future at the club as well as whether he’s being treated correctly.
Here’s what the Gunners need to do, in order to fix his problem:
Keep him out of the firing line
Starting with the most obvious one, it’s essential that Jenkinson is effectively protected, especially when he’s not playing or sitting on the substitutes’ bench. It’s obvious he wants to play, and has previously said how his long-term injury gave him extra hunger to return stronger and succeed.
After all, it’s not that long ago that he left on a temporary basis in search of regular minutes in the Premier League, where he did so at West Ham. He did his reputation no harm, and actually benefited from playing on a weekly basis, but it’s clear to see that his development hasn’t been as smooth a transition as Hector Bellerín for example.
Collectively as a club, Arsenal supporters are one of the worst when it comes to their fickle nature, and it’s clear to see that they relish criticising players who don’t perform to consistently high-standards every game.
Watch video analysis clips
This is more of an analytical point, it’s important for players to do this anyway but especially with a player like Jenkinson, video analysis will allow him to identify both his strengths and weaknesses.
Subtle movements, where he might be getting caught too high up the pitch at times are areas of his game that will naturally iron themselves out as he gets more minutes under his belt. His crossing has been unflattering to say the least since his first-team return, whilst he doesn’t win a lot of aerial duels, mainly as his timing can be erratic upon occasion. Knowing when to time tackles out of possession and aiming to avoid inconsistency when completing forward passes are just a few examples of areas that Jenkinson can work on, in order to further improve.
Avoid social media where possible
This one may sound trivial, but reverts back to the aim of protecting the player here. Social media is often an unforgiving, ruthless place when a player underperforms or their team loses. Recently I’ve seen Jenkinson blamed by plenty of supporters who tend to jump on the bandwagon and follow the lead of others in regards to player criticism.
Against Manchester United, many were saying he struggled against the pace and power between Rashford and Martial. In actual fact, he did a solid job defensively. It’s understandable that his rustiness will show at times and he’ll ultimately have a few nervy moments, but no player is perfect and it’s ridiculous to assume that.
If for instance, Jenkinson goes onto Twitter and sees a barrage of tweets calling for him to be offloaded in the summer, it’ll shred his confidence. He’ll start subconsciously thinking about whether they’re right, questioning his own performances on a more regular basis and the vicious circle will continue.
Arsenal need to protect Jenkinson because the way he has been treated following his recovery from a long-term knee ligament injury is quite frankly, upsetting to say the least.