Arsenal defender Carl Jenkinson says his first season at the Emirates Stadium has been a learning curve following his summer move from Charlton Athletic.
Jenkinson was one of eight new recruits in the summer, joining for £1 million from League One side Charlton Athletic and subsequently making 12 appearances in a first season decimated by injury.
The 20-year-old endured a torrid first few weeks at Arsenal, being red carded in just his second start against Manchester United, experiences he accepts as being a learning curve in his development.
“It was all a little bit of a blur,” he said. “It was tough day for me and the club and it was very hard to swallow.
“We had played Udinese in midweek and I felt I had done quite well. That was a massive high, so to go from that to Old Trafford was strange. It happened so quickly.
"It was a disappointing day for me and it took me a while to get over. It was my first taste of a tough result, but things like that make you stronger, and build you as a man and a character.
“I didn't start how I would have liked to, but an honest assessment would be that as I have progressed, got more minutes under my belt and trained with the boys I definitely feel like I have improved a lot.
"It was a very steep learning curve for me. I believed I was capable of playing at the highest level, and sometimes it is about getting seen by the right people at the right time.
“I have had some tough times but I feel like I have come out of it a bigger and better person, and a better player.
“In a football career you are going to have ups and downs and tough times, but people have told me it is about how you respond to those tough times that will make or break you as a footballer.”
Jenkinson made his first appearance for over three months in the north London derby win over Tottenham Hotspur in February, but has failed to feature again since that comeback win.
A fractured spine was the reason behind Jenkinson missing much of the middle third of the season, amid a defensive injury crisis in the Arsenal ranks.
However, the youngster is expected to be fit for the late-season run in, as the Gunners close in on a place in the Premier League's top three.
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