‘Exceptional’ Jay Emmanuel-Thomas puts pressure on front two
JAY Emmanuel-Thomas has heaped pressure on strike duo Michael Chopra and Jason Scotland after impressing Paul Jewell on the training ground.
The former Arsenal attacker has played his way back into the manager’s thoughts – even if Jewell joked the man dubbed JET had the potential to “drive him up the wall”.
And with Michael Chopra still out-of-sorts and the games coming thick and fast, Emmanuel-Thomas could earn his first start for more than a month against either Reading on New Year’s Eve or Nottingham Forest on Bank Holiday Monday.
Jewell admitted: “JET was exceptional in training and played himself into my thoughts. Sometimes you have to make a decision on what you see in training.
“It has taken a while, but I think he’s got potential to be a very good player – though I also think he’s got the potential to drive me up the wall too.
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“He’s got something that no one else has got – that unpredictability. Just as you’re preparing to bring him off, he can stick one in the top corner or produce a brilliant pass.”
Emmanuel-Thomas was preferred to Nathan Ellington as the striking option on the bench in the pre-Christmas win over Derby with Jewell admitting the tough decision came down to JET’s performance in training rather than anything the former Wigan frontman did wrong.
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And then the enigmatic forward was again given the nod to take over from Chopra as a 73rd minute sub against Leicester on Monday.
But Emmanuel-Thomas, who turned 21 yesterday, is still searching for the right levels of consistency to fully impress Jewell and convince supporters he was worth the �1 million spent on him in the summer.
Jewell said: “I am looking for more consistency from JET. All young players go up and down, but not within five minute spells of games.
“He’s 6ft 4ins, has shoulders like a boxer, he can run – he just needs to learn the game and learn that this is a tough league and a tough environment.
“He has that ability to get you off your seat. He’s only young and if he progresses, he will be a very good player.
“This is the first time he’s been properly away from Arsenal so he’s still adapting. Everyone wants instant success with players, but he’ll hopefully get better and better.”
Emmanuel-Thomas has been involved in 18 of Town’s 22 games, but has started just seven of them, scoring a paltry two goals.
Both came in the first four matches of the season suggesting the exciting JET could be a bargain buy for Jewell.
But the scorcher against Northampton Town in the Carling Cup, quickly followed by a strike against Southampton, have so far proved something of a false dawn.