Wenger to drop Jenkinson to protect him from social media taunts
Arsene Wenger is to drop Carl Jenkinson for Arsenal's London derby against West Ham on Saturday to protect the right-back from taunts on social media.
Jenkinson was cheered ironically by sections of the Emirates Stadium crowd when he was substituted in Wednesday's disappointing 2-0 EFL Cup quarter-final defeat to Southampton.
The 24-year-old was also subjected to a battering on social media following the game.
And, despite injuries to Hector Bellerin and Mathieu Debuchy, manager Wenger is set to take him out of the firing line against the Hammers - with whom Jenkinson had a loan spell cut short last season due to a serious knee injury - in order to help restore his shattered confidence.
"He has lost confidence because the Jenkinson you see at the moment is the Jenkinson who can play, but is not completely Jenkinson because he has no confidence. That will come back. It is natural and very difficult," he told reporters.
"Jenkinson has not played for a long, long period. You think you are there and you will only realise in six months that he is not completely there.
"And then you will play and realise you are not as good as you think you should be and you lose confidence. He is going through that period at the moment.
"Today it is even more difficult because he gets quickly hammered by everybody on social media. I hope he doesn't read all that and focuses on his game.
"Does he suffer in comparison to Hector Bellerin? Yes, because Bellerin is one of the best in his position certainly in Europe but Carl can compete with him.
"At the moment, no, because mentally he has not found back his total level and not his confidence back."
With Jenkinson coming out of the team, Gabriel - normally a centre-back - is the most likely candidate to slot in at full-back.
And Wenger believes taking Jenkinson out of the team will ultimately prove beneficial to his progress.
"The best way to help them is to respect the fact to play them when they are competitive," he said.
"Because if you don't play them, they are not completely ready mentally, it's even worse."