‘Liven up JET!’ - Paul Jewell had his early doubts about Emmanuel-Thomas
HE’S beginning to look more and more of a bargain as the weeks go by, but even Ipswich Town manager Paul Jewell admits he wondered whether he had done the right thing signing Jay Emmanuel-Thomas last summer.
The Blues boss summed up the 21-year-old’s form perfectly earlier in the campaign when saying the flair player goes ‘from world beater to panel beater’ in a flash.
A run of 17 consecutive starts on the right-side of a fluid attacking four has seen the former Arsenal youngster improve dramatically though.
And while there is still the odd quiet game or half, the man nicknamed JET has taken off in recent weeks, striking fear into markers with his power, pace and trickery.
“I don’t know what we paid for him, but I think it was around �600,000 going up,” said Jewell.
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“To be honest, when we bought him – like all supporters – I was thinking ‘come on JET, liven up a little bit!’ He’s just got that languid running style hasn’t he?
“Sometimes we (the management) are like fans. We expect things to happen every time he gets the ball and that won’t always be possible.
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“He is that one player in our team who gets people on the edge of their seats though.”
He continued: “First half on Saturday they (Watford) couldn’t handle him.
“At one point he picked the ball up on the edge of our box and carried it right up to the edge of their box almost Thierry Henry like.
“Teams are doubling up on him, trebling up on him at times. He attracts so many people to the ball it leaves space for other people.
“I’ve chatted to him. When he’s closely marked he has to be able to deal with that. I want him to always look for the ball when we have got it and work hard when we haven’t.
“He’s got better and he will get even better as he gets to know the game more.”
– Town host Middlesbrough tonight at Portman Road. See today’s EADT and Ipswich Star for full match preview.