So far in the 2015/2016 campaign, West Ham United are currently sitting in an impressive fifth position after five games, despite below par performances that resulted in deserved defeats at the hands of Leicester City and AFC Bournemouth respectively.
However, memorable and historic away wins against Arsenal and Liverpool, as well as the most recent victory against Newcastle United, the first home win of the season for the Hammers, has meant the superb West Ham faithful signing Slaven Bilic’s name on numerous occasions.
In those two losses at Boleyn Ground fans, defender Carl Jenkinson played a significantly negative and surprisingly poor part in the East Londoners two defeats so far.
For a player that performed to an extremely high standard in the famous claret and blue last season, shock and disappointment with the 23-year-old is a massive understatement for the E13 club first choice full back on the right side of the defence.
With second choice right back Joey O’Brien supposedly ruled out through a knee injury for a considerable amount of time, a recognised right back that is in form is non-existent at Upton Park at the moment.
Step forward an academy graduate who has started brilliantly this season while playing out of position. Centre half, potential turned right back James Tomkins, has produced stellar performances in the magnificent wins away at the Emirates Stadium and Anfield, keeping quiet the likes of Santi Cazorla and Phillipe Coutinho, as well as putting in a solid display in the recent win last Monday against the Magpies.
All of these games have seen the former Derby County loanee keep a clean sheet as the Hammers are yet to concede a goal when Tomkins has played, wherever it’s as a right back or a centre back. With January transfer talk already surfacing in the eventful world of the Premier League, do West Ham really need to find a back-up for an out of sorts Carl Jenkinson?
Undoubtedly, Jenkinson showed Arsene Wenger what he is capable of last season after the lack of first team football at Arsenal since his move from Championship outfit Charlton Athletic in 2011.
In the 32 appearances Jenkinson made for the Hammers last season, he was involved in 44 of the 47 points the Hammers accumulated. This triggered Wenger to offer him a new long term contract at Arsenal, in order to stop him making a permanent switch to West Ham.
On the basis of the England U21 player’s start, Wenger could be regretting that decision, as the full back had a reasonably bad game in the 2-1 loss against Foxes and an even worse performance in the 4-3 defeat against the Cherries, with Max Gradel tormenting him, leading to the defender being shown a red card.
Meanwhile, the man who has played 143 English top-flight games for the the Hammers has been one of the influential and fundamental reasons why Bilic’s men are just outside the Champions League spots in the very early stages of the season.
West Ham’s top Europa League goalscorer with two goals, tremendous form on the wide right of the defence has forced Jenkinson onto the bench and rightly so.
The only way Jenkinson will remotely get back into the starting XI will be if Tomkins fails to deliver in his spot, which is highly unlikely, or there are a number of defensive injuries.
One thing is for sure, though. James Tomkins is certainly justifying Slaven Bilic’s decision not to sign a back up for Jenkinson in the summer.