Carl Jenkinson has admitted that he would have liked to move to Crystal Palace during January and that he has no intention of just seeing out the next three-and-a-half years of his Arsenal contract.
The full-back has been frozen out of the Arsenal squad. Arsene Wenger says it is because the player lacks confidence after poor performances and getting panned on social media. The player disagrees. What is clear, however, is that his time at Arsenal is up. When Hector Bellerin was injured, it was Gabriel, a clumsy centreback who convinces few, that Wenger turned to while Jenks sat the matches out.
In a range of interviews given to the press ahead of this weekend’s round of matches, Jenks has moved to set the record straight on a few things – namely his alleged lack of confidence and the reports he was demanding too much money from Palace.
“You ask any footballer and we just love to play,” Jenkinson said. “Getting to January, I knew that I was not going to play so I was certainly open to something new and playing more regularly. I played regularly for two years [at West Ham] and in the main I felt I flourished.
“I wanted to clear up some of the things that came out since the move didn’t happen, which were false with regard to the supposed excessive demands for the move to go through. I took it quite personally. I tend to keep away from the papers and what’s written … but when I was seeing certain things, I take it personally.
“I think in a number of ways, Palace would have been a good fit. It would have enabled me to play again and that’s all I want: to play football. I had a great year with Big Sam [Allardyce, at West Ham], played some of the best football of my career and got on very well with him. The opportunity to play under him again was something I was interested in doing. In the end it didn’t pan out.
“It’s a culmination of things. When you do leave a club like Arsenal, everything needs to be right. It needs to be the right manager and financially – don’t get me wrong, I don’t want silly money – it needs to be right for me.
“Maybe I won’t get that much football now [until the end of the season] but I’ve still got a 3½-year contract, I’m at Arsenal, played for Arsenal for a number of years. They are not pushing me out of the door but I also know I need to play football.
“Your body is accustomed to going out every day and playing. You are sharper physically. You become a different beast when you play every week. And also from a confidence perspective when you play every week you make sharper, better decisions. Training can only do so much and match decisions are completely different.
“I don’t think the boss meant for it to come across the way it did [about his lack of confidence]. It possibly could have been the contrary – he was saying it to protect me. In the end it had the adverse effect. I never chatted to the boss on it because I didn’t think it was necessary. It was bizarre because I have never really struggled with confidence.
“I’d just come back from an eight-month injury. I wasn’t 100 per cent, but I wasn’t low on confidence.
“I took it with a pinch of salt. To others it might look different. It wasn’t an issue for me.”
Source: Sport [hardcopy]