LONDON: Arsene Wenger has confirmed that Carl Jenkinson will return to the Arsenal defence for Wednesday’s EFL Cup quarter-final clash against Southampton.
The 24-year-old was rested for Sunday’s Premier League victory over Bournemouth after starting the two previous games in defence following injury to first choice right-back Hector Bellerin.
Jenkinson suffered cruciate ligament damage while on loan at West Ham last year and only made his return from injury earlier this month.
Following a testing first half performance against Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League, Wenger took the decision to hand a start to Mathieu Debuchy for Sunday’s game with Bournemouth – his first competitive appearance in over a year.
“Carl Jenkinson will play,” Wenger revealed ahead of Wednesday night’s match.
“I rested him completely against Bournemouth because he played two big games and I felt he needed a breather.
“Sometimes, mentally, three games in a week demands a lot. Carl’s back in tomorrow and we’ll put Gabriel in the centre, and then we will see for Saturday.”
Wenger admits that Jenkinson will take time to get back to the level he was at before his injury and believes the game against the Saints is the perfect opportunity for the former Charlton man to show his defensive qualities.
Being thrown into games against Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester United have certainly provided tough tests for Jenkinson and the French boss is convinced of the player’s improvement over the coming games.
“You forget that it’s a big ask. Carl is very conscientious and it takes him time to play completely with freedom.
“He needs a run of games to play with freedom, so the fact that he can get another game tomorrow, I think we’ll already see a different Carl.”