JET: ‘Laid-back and not caring are two different things’

Jay Emmanuel-Thomas

Jay Emmanuel-Thomas - Credit: Ashley Pickering

Jay Emmanuel-Thomas can often be perceived to be lazy.

Indeed, his languid style doesn’t smack of an “up and at ‘em”, Mick McCarthy-style player, but the 22-year-old has certainly launched a good defence in recent weeks.

Following a new year exile, in which JET was taken away from the first team, the former Arsenal man is once again beginning to show why Paul Jewell signed him in 2011.

But while he acknowledges certain facets of his game need improving, the big winger, with all the talent in the world, insists his on-pitch persona will not change.

“I am like Marmite, and the fans either like me or they don’t,” said the likeable Londoner.

“It’s going to be awkward for me to change, aged 22, when I have been like that all my life.

“But people attempt to take my laid-back style too far and accuse me of not caring, but there is a difference between being laid-back and not caring.”

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One thing JET has been able to change is his standing in the first-team squad at Portman Road.

Ousted from Mick McCarthy’s thoughts in January, after an abject performance in a reserve game at Charlton, something had to give.

“I knew I had not done myself justice and it wasn’t like I thought, ‘If I play well and score I am going to start the next game’, I just had one of those moments that young boys can have,” he recalled.

“After that game, I had a conversation with Mick McCarthy and I apologised and since then, I have been getting back to the levels I was at before.”

JET was back in the reserves, ironically against Charlton on Monday evening, but can feel far more assured of being in contention these days.

“I am working on the defensive side of my game, the extra attributes that the manager wants from me,” said the former Doncaster loanee.

“Not many attackers will enjoy it, but it’s part of the job.”

Another part of the job, albeit not always an enjoyable one, is playing in under-21 games, like the recent game in the snow at Playford Road.

“Against Brentford, the weather was rubbish, the pitch was white with snow and we didn’t have a yellow ball to use,” said JET.

“Sometimes you will find yourself warming up and thinking about the game being called off but once the whistle blows, you adopt that mindset where you get on with it.”

Such an attitude will no doubt go down well with the Blues’ management team too.

“The manager and Terry Connor like to see the good in what you do,” he said.

“They look at the positives but if you do not focus they will tell you.

“But if you put a shift in every day, they won’t rant and rave and holler at you.”