Has Carl Jenkinson done enough to permanently displace James Tomkins as West Ham’s right-back?

Carl Jenkinson is looking to earn his place in West Ham’s starting XI, whilst James Tomkins fills in at centre-back.

James Tomkins has been Slaven Bilic’s first-choice right-back so far this season, impressing in his unnatural position whilst Carl Jenkinson struggled for form.

However, he returned to central defence at the weekend, moving back to his natural position due to the injury suffered by Angelo Ogbonna.

This positional change allowed Jenkinson to return to the starting XI, and he played well as the Hammers defeated Manchester City by a 2-1 scoreline - the most surprising result of the Premier League weekend.

Ogbonna is set to be out for a few more weeks yet, meaning Jenkinson is sure to retain his place in the side, but has he done enough to prove to Bilic that he deserves to be first-choice right-back ahead of Tomkins.

We take a look at how the two defenders have performed this season, as they fight for first-team football when Ogbonna returns to full fitness.

  Mins PlayedTackles Won per GameClearances per GameAerials Won per GameInterceptions per Game
James Tomkins 415 1 4.6 1.4 1.6
Carl Jenkinson 302 1 4 0.7 1.2

As can be expected, Tomkins is the better defender of the duo, with his training as a central defender handing him an advantage over Jenkinson.

He completes more clearances and wins more aerial duels per game than Jenkinson, as well as intercepting the ball more times than the Arsenal loanee. Tomkins also wins more tackles, although the margin of improvement is surprising small considering how criticised Jenkinson has been for his defensive play this term.

Although Jenkinson falters in relation to Tomkins in defensive work, the England youth international is seen as a much more natural attacking full-back, and Bilic would include him for his offensive presence.

  Successful Dribbles per GameAccurate Crosses per GameTotal Att Assist GAME
James Tomkins 0.2 0 0.4
Carl Jenkinson 0.5 0.8 0.5

It is this attacking role where he excels, although he has yet to hit truly great heights this season. Whilst playing better than Tomkins, he is still ranking low on attacking statistics, and is nowhere near close to his usual form.

Bilic has a tough decision to make when he comes to selecting his first-choice right-back, when Ogbonna returns from injury.

Jenkinson is there for his attacking threat, whilst Tomkins is a more assured defender, and these opposite skills mean that Bilic has a great selection dilemma when having to choose between the two for his side.

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