Posted on Tuesday, 5th July 2011 by Iain Culverhouse
For those who don’t know much about Jay Emmanuel-Thomas he was born in Forest Gate, London, on the 27th of December 1990.
Jay Emmanuel-Thomas, simply known as JET, has been at the North London club since he was 7-years-old, after being spotted playing for his father’s team by a club scout, who invited him for training session.
He became captain of the Under-18 youth team when he was just 16, and then, in the summer of 2008, he signed his first professional contract with the Gunners.
JET was vital in Arsenal winning the 2008/09 FA Youth Cup where he scored in every round. Arsenal beat Liverpool 6–2 on aggregate in the two-legged final, with Emmanuel-Thomas captaining the side, and also managing to score in the 4–1 first leg win at the Emirates.
In 2009 he started the season on loan with Blackpool. Regarding him signing for Arsenal, he remembers the day well. He told the Blackpool Gazette in August 2009:
‘On the second day they asked me to sign a contract and I’ve been there ever since. I’ve come to Blackpool to prove that I can play against men who are older and perhaps stronger than me, and that I can handle myself without any problems. Hopefully it will be good for me and will help me improve. The highlights of my career so far have been winning the Youth Cup against Liverpool and getting on the bench at Portsmouth. I love being at Arsenal and Arsene Wenger is definitely one of the best managers around. He watches the youth team training sessions and if he sees something he likes he will say ‘well done’, so at least you know you are doing something he is looking for.’
The youngster scored a day later on his full debut on the 21st of August 2009 in a 2–2 draw with Watford – this played a major part in extending his contract on the 18th of September 2009 for a further 2 months.
After returning to Arsenal, he was rewarded with a new long-term contract.
Jay Emmanuel-Thomas made his full Arsenal debut against Stoke on the 24th of January 2010, where he played as a striker in a three man attack; he was substituted after 66 minutes. He later sealed a loan move to Doncaster Rovers on the 27th of February 2010, where the same day he came on as a substitute in the 76th Minute. In the next away game against Bristol City, he managed to net two goals resulting in a 5-2 – his contract was extended until the end of the 2009/10 season.
Back once again at Arsenal, he started the 2010/11 season in superb form for the reserve side, scoring 10 goals in 9 appearances for the side. He made his first league appearance for the senior team against Chelsea on the 3rd of October coming on for Jack Wilshere in the 81st minute.
Jay Emmanuel-Thomas has been praised by Arsene Wenger in the past. The Frenchman said of the Englishman:
‘When his fitness is right, Jay will be not only a good player but a great player.’
He finished the 2010/11 season on loan at Cardiff, where he scored 2 goals in 14 appearances for the Bluebirds.
I believe Jay-Emmanuel-Thomas, who can play in multiple positions, will undoubtedly be a good player for the future, and I for one hope that Wenger decides to use him this season in the smaller competitions just so that he can gain more experience.
He has been at Arsenal for 13 years now, and in my view, he definitely deserves a shot at the first-team this upcoming season.
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