Jenko back in the swing of things

Carl Jenkinson has promised Hammers fans that they have seen nothing yet, as the Arsenal loanee celebrated three points and a clean sheet in his full West Ham United debut against Queens Park Rangers.  

Sunday's first start in Claret and Blue had been some time coming for the 22-year-old, after a pre-season hamstring injury consigned the England U21 international to the sidelines for six weeks.

But following encouraging cameos at both Hull City and Manchester United in recent weeks, Jenkinson was delighted to stay the course against Rangers and expects to be in full flight down the right wing before long.  

"Sunday was a strange one for me, being my first 90 minutes," he explained. "There was a lot of space in front of me, but I just didn't have it in my legs to bomb on as much as I'd have liked. But that's normal, I've not played 90 minutes for a couple of months now, so it will improve on that front.

"I'm very glad we kept our first clean sheet of the season and I got forward when I could, but the fans will see a lot more of me going forward in the future."

While the injury was a bitter blow to the Harlow-born full-back, Jenkinson insists that it was at least well timed, with pre-season and the first of two international breaks partially coming to his aid.    

He continued: "It's been a little bit frustrating, to be honest, coming here and getting an injury, particularly as I've not really had one for a couple of years. But fortunately I didn't miss too many games - it was a six-week injury and yet I only missed three games. That was the upside.

"With the team doing well, it's been a bit of a waiting game for the last couple of games for me to get in. But I've played two 30 minutes and I've taken my opportunities. I got my chance on Sunday, we've come away with a 2-0 win and a clean sheet, so I'm positive with the way things are going at the moment. It's just important that we kick on."

Reflecting on a job well done on Sunday, Jenkinson felt that Nedum Onuoha's early own goal made for an unusual affair, with the Hammers unsure of whether to stick or twist. But far from being preoccupied with style on this occasion, the former Charlton Athletic man was just glad of three hard-earned points.

"It was a difficult one, because when you go 1-0 up [so early], you don't always know whether to push on," he confirmed. "They then started leaving a couple more men up there and you have to manage the game a little bit. So we didn't really get into our rhythm. But I think it was one of those games where the three points were all that mattered.

"We've played games this season that we should have got more out of and didn't get the points, so it was very important that we won on Sunday and pushed ourselves up the table. We've played seven games now, we've got ten points and I think we're seventh, so it's not a bad start to the season by any means."   

For all his efforts to claw his way back into West Ham's starting XI, Jenkinson now has international football to focus the mind, having been included in Gareth Southgate's England U21 squad. The Three Lions face a two-legged tie against Croatia to book their spot at next year's UEFA European Under-21 Championship finals in the Czech Republic and Jenkinson is ready to do battle.

He concluded: "It'll be nice. I've not had too much game time, what with my injury, so it'll be nice to get back into the swing of things. We've got two incredibly important games if we want to goto the Euros in the summer. That's everyone's aim and we're looking forward to that now."