Saturday, July 26, 2014

On Loving Carl Jenkinson

Well, I haven't written anything since the World Cup, because there hasn't been much to write about since the World Cup. Sure, we signed Debuchy, Arsene Wenger confirmed Ospina (even if didn't, and we've been subject to photos of Arsenal players posing on Times Square, with random New Yorkers wondering what's going on. But in terms of game changing news, there hasn't been much to talk about. Of course transfer rumours and all that, but I'm really tired of Balotelli rumours. It's not going to happen! God! How stupid do you have to be to keep regurgitating that! 
Yesterday there was a rumour that we had signed Southampton's young English fullback, Calum Chambers and since it was the BBC reporting it, there's always the possibility that it could be true. Calum is a 19 year old who can play in a variety of defensive roles, but primarily plays at right back. If we do sign the player (and the fee is rumoured to be anywhere between 7 million to 16 million), it would mean that he would be a deputy to Debuchy, and that Carl Jenkinson would have no place on the team.

I love Carl Jenkinson, I really do. He's not the first choice right back, is not yet a complete player and is prone to the occasional f*** up. But he's got tons of what a lot of football players lack these days: passion and love for the club. You can see it every time he's on the pitch. You could see it when he scored against Norwich last season. A meaningless goal, in a meaningless game. It wasn't a pretty goal, it didn't change the outcome of the match or the club as far as league position is concerned. But Jenkinson celebrated as if it meant the world to him. And it probably did. 

Here's a footballer who is first and foremost a fan, and then a professional player. His love for Arsenal is visible to all, even in the engraving dedicated to is grandfather outside the Emirates. 

As an Arsenal fan, there's something endearing about knowing that a fellow fan is living the dream. He gets to don that red jersey, have a squad number, and make a small place for his name in the glorious history of Arsenal football club. Which one of us hasn't wanted that?
That's the importance of Carl Jenkinson. He may never become a truly remarkable player (I hope he does), but he is always going to give Arsenal his best. Even on the pitch, when he hasn't had a good game, one cannot fault him for not giving his best. And he does have some traits, which make him a decent footballer. A fantastic engine, he'll run up and down the right flank all day long. He's got excellent delivery, and his crosses are much better than Sagna's ever were. Add his willingness to go the extra mile for the club that he loves, and you've got yourself a player worth keeping. 

We often talk about loyalty in football. Here's a player who will never leave the club, always put in 100%, and perhaps doesn't even dream of being a Ronaldo or a Messi, since playing for Arsenal is a dream come true in itself. Any United fans reading this might curse me for the comparison, but Carl Jenkinson is a lot like Nicky Butt. Not the most talented of the players in the squad, but loyal, willing to give it his all, and a club man through and through. Nicky Butt is held in great esteem today by most United fans. And that's why I hope the Chambers rumour isn't true. Even if it is, I hope that Wenger is doing the ole positional switcheroo, and won't make him play as a right back. Because CJ is the epitome of Tony Adam's famous words about playing for the name in front of the jersey, and I for one would like the name at the back of his jersey to be remembered.