by Lewis Ambrose
Carl Jenkinson enjoyed a successful season on loan at West Ham and looks set to temporarily leave Arsenal again next season.
For now, though, he has international football to worry about.
Jenkinson is part of the England u21 squad currently in the Czech Republic for the European Championships and confident about the nation’s chances.
“We don’t fear anything, if we play to our potential. Without blowing our own trumpet, we have a very good team,” Jenkinson said on Wednesday.
The Arsenal defender is likely to start at right-back on Thursday night in England’s opening group game against Portugal.
“There are goals in this team and a back four many of whom have played regularly in the Premier League.
“As for the midfield, they can play a through ball and are very nice on the ball and our keepers are very good. There is no reason not to be confident.”
The squad is strong enough, then? What about their manager?
Well, Gareth Southgate’s record is almost impeccable.
15 wins from 17 games under Southgate include an impressive victory over tournament favourites Germany back in March, but Jenkinson knows those results count for nothing now.
“It’s the proper stuff now, it’s tournament time.
“This is where it really matters, but so far it has been really good. Now it is about mentality. We have to go and do it on the big stage,” said the 23 year-old.
“Are we ready for the pressure of that? We are aware of it and we are representing our country.”
On the eve of such a big game Jenkinson is confident, convinced of the ability in this England team.
“We have a chance to make a name for ourselves as a team and as individuals. A lot of us play in the Premier League week in and week out where there is a lot of pressure, so I don’t think pressure will be an issue.”
One thing that will certainly stand England in good stead is the bond that the players seem to have.
“We spent a lot of time with each other. We have a day or two off and more often than not the lads choose to stay together.
“We enjoy each other’s company. We stay in contact even when we are back with our clubs. We have a good bond.”
It isn’t rare that England go into a tournament with high hopes and big ambition, but the national team never seems to deliver.
Much of the next generation, including Jenkinson and fellow Arsenal defender Calum Chambers, will be looking to go against the grain of Englishman and not only strive for glory in Czech Republic, but achieve it.