Last Saturday saw Carl Jenkinson forced off in the thrilling 2-2 draw at home against title contenders Manchester City with a serious knee injury.
Ultimately the England U21 international is certain to miss the rest of the season and return to his parent club Arsenal to start his rehabilitation. When this news spread, a mixture of positive and negative responses via social media quickly circled, which provoked reaction and opinion.
Some wished him good luck and a speedy recovery, while others saw the opportunity to criticise the full back and saw it as a blessing in disguise.
So, where did it all go wrong for the 23-year-old?
When Jenkinson was first signed on a temporary basis from the Gunners at the start of the 2014/2015 campaign, eyebrows were raised – ‘Why has Big Sam brought in a right back that has barely played any first team football’?
Former chief Sam Allardyce actually proved he was right, for once, as Jenkinson had a magnificent season, playing 30 games and performing solidly in a consistent backline with Winston Reid, James Tomkins and Aaron Cresswell.
But since then it’s all been downhill for Jenko. After proving he can cut it in the Premier League, the former Welling United loanee was rewarded with a call up to the England U21 squad for the U21 Championships in Czech Republic.
Despite early elimination for the Three Lions, the constant stream of steady football and disappointment of failing to advance of the latter stages of the competition dented the confidence of Jenkinson, as well as starting to look fatigued.
His performance at Upton Park against newly promoted AFC Bournemouth rather proved the point that he wasn’t ready for a return to action in Claret and Blue as he was tormented by winger Max Gradel, fouling the Ivory Coast midfielder which led to an instant red card and a day to forget. Signs of the Carl Jenkinson of last season were witnessed six weeks after the 4-3 loss to the Cherries, scoring in consecutive away games against Sunderland and Crystal Palace respectively.
However, in typical Jenkinson style, after scoring in the latter game, he gave away the penalty one minute after netting his second goal for the E13 club, which Yohan Cabaye dispatched.
His bad form culminated in him being replaced by Tomkins, who despite being played out of position as a right back played extremely well. From that moment, Jenkinson was going to be on the fringes West Ham’s side, especially after the arrival of £3.7m full back Sam Byram from Leeds United.
On the basis of Jenkinson’s start to life in East London, turning the loan move into a permanent switch looked to be a priority. However, co-chairmen David Gold and David Sullivan, as well as manager Slaven Bilic are great football and businessmen, and anticipated the dreaded second season syndrome for Jenkinson.
After being quoted a staggering £15m by Arsene Wenger, it’s safe to say West Ham have had a lucky escape and now it’s Arsenal’s turn to worry about the full back.
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