Luke Jenkins bounced back from missing a whole season through injury – and now the young defender is aiming to show that he can be a part of Wimbledon’s future.
Regarded as a real prospect after progressing through the academy ranks with his aerial ability really catching the eye, Luke’s progress was interrupted by a serious back injury. Following a very difficult 12 months, Luke has earned his reward for bouncing back with Glyn Hodges offering him first-team opportunities during pre-season.
It’s a big chance that Luke is relishing, especially after a past year that was a real test of character for a young footballer.
“In pre-season last year I started to get a bit of back pain and after playing with it for a few more weeks it turned out to be a lower back stress fracture,” Luke recalled. “It kept me out for around seven months, so I missed the whole of last year. It was a tough experience as I was not able to do anything at all. I was in a pretty bad place, but coming back now has lifted my mood, and now I feel good to play again. Considering I’ve been out for so long, coming back into action with the first-team has been good.”
Luke added that he’s learned plenty from being pitched in at the back alongside captain Will Nightingale and Terell Thomas in recent matches.
“It’s been a great experience, meeting all the players and playing in friendly matches with them. It’s been brilliant to play in the first-team and it’s a lot different to playing Under-18s football. I’ve enjoyed it thoroughly and hopefully it continues.
“Will has had a big impact on me and Terell has been very good as well. He’s been talking to me and I appreciate that because I’ve been playing alongside him a lot.”
Our captain has been impressed by Luke’s return to action and offered words of encouragement to the young defender to keep showing what he can do.
Will said: “Luke has been doing really well, he reminds me of myself a little bit with the way that he plays. He’s got a lot of passion and wants to win games, so he will be one for the fans to look out for.”
Luke was speaking during an interview with Rob Cornell, as part of our feature on the academy’s Richmond Park Run. In case you missed it, click on the link below to find out how it all went and to watch interviews with Seb Brown, Under-18s manager Rob Tuvey, and more.