With all the excitement that the summer transfer window brought, the signing of Carl Jenkinson from Arsenal snuck under the radar somewhat.
The issue for West Ham United over the years has been evident for all to see, the club needed strikers and attack-minded full backs that could provide support on the wings for the wide men. It now seems that the Hammers may well have finally figured that out, bringing in Diafra Sakho and Enner Valencia up top who have scored plenty between them already this season and look to have paired up to make what could well be quite a potent attack.
And with Jenkinson coming into the starting line-up, the back four has a youthful yet experienced feel to it, and it is refreshing to see a Sam Allardyce side with an attack-minded back four in mind who like to play football on the floor. The full back position is quickly becoming the most crucial role in a side. You only have to look at the top clubs around the world to see that’s the case.
At Bayern Munich you have Philipp Lahm and David Alaba, and to a lesser degree at Everton, you could argue their two most important players are Seamus Coleman and Leighton Baines. So it is important not to forget how important a role the full back plays. With Cresswell now settled in at left back, and looking like a solid acquisition having stepped up from the Championship, the battle for the right back spot is heating up.
Now I have always been a fan of Guy Demel, and despite his frame, he can move and has some skills to boot. His role in the goal Mo Diame scored against Manchester United will live long in the memory as he nonchalantly flicked the ball to Vaz Te who likewise flicked it too Diame before he fired past the helpless De Gea. But much like life, the footballing world is gearing towards speed more than reliability.
There is no doubting the on loan Arsenal man holds the edge over Demel on that score, and his cameo roles against Liverpool, Hull and Manchester United have given us a brief glimpse and what kind of player we could have on our hands. Against United, as the Hammers pushed for an equaliser, Jenkinson came on and caused the Red Devils all sorts of problems down the right-hand side, and but for Kevin Nolan’s nose being offside, he would have claimed an assist.
He looked lively and calm on the ball something that Sam Allardyce’s team need if they are to play this more expansive and attacking brand of football. If the rumours are true and we have an option to buy the Arsenal man at the end of the season, then in my eyes the Irons are set for years to come at full-back with Cresswell and Jenkinson at the helm.