Jenkinson in Arsenal dreamland
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 Blue Square Bet Premier 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 Arsene 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 told Arsenal Player. "From me to come to where I was to playing in the Premier League is obviously a big achievement for me. "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 added: "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 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 for me to do and I know I have a lot more in me to show it. "But 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 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 striker Marouane Chamakh back to the club. "In the last two months, I have been leaving messages with Marouane," Triaud told French radio station Gold FM. "I also left messages with Arsene Wenger but I got no answer. "His silence shows probably that he still hopes he will make it at Arsenal."