The two teams meet in the FA Cup this weekend.
"He played in the team on the day we avoided relegation from the Football League 11 years ago," Jenkins said.
"And when he came back as manager, he showed us the route we needed to be different. He showed us a brand of football. He was fundamental to what we are now. He allowed us to grow as a club and he was one of the main people to show us the right way.
"When you look at the Premier League, most of the top managers never played at the very top level. It's not a coincidence. It's fact. They study football and work harder at everything they do. Roberto is one of them."
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