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Jay Emmanuel-Thomas: another Young Gun on the verge

Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images
Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

One of the players who has made a visible impact on the first two preseason games is Jay Emmanuel-Thomas.  JET has long been one of Arsenal's most promising youth players; he captained the sides that won the 2008-09 Academy league and the youth FA cup that same year.  He also scored a number of crucial goals in the latter stages of both of those competitions.

In 2009-10, JET split time among Arsenal (for whom he started the fateful 4th round FA cup tie against Stoke City), and loan spells for Blackpool (at the start of the season) and Doncaster Rovers (towards the end of the season).  He scored 2 goals in 12 appearances for the now-Premier League Blackpool and 5 goals in 14 appearances for Doncaster, good tallies for a young winger/striker.

JET has been at Arsenal since he was seven years old; now, at the age of 19, he looks ready to play a part in the senior team's campaigns this season.  Unusually tall for a winger (6'3"), he initially looks more suited for a center forward role, until one watches him in action.  Blessed with quick feet for a tall man, JET has been able to work some magic on the right wing in Arsenal's matches against Barnet and Sturm Graz, setting up Henri Lansbury's goal against the latter after cutting deftly inside.

Arsenal, of course, have a flotilla of capable midfield/wing players.  Emmanuel-Thomas falls behind Arshavin, Nasri, RVP (if he is used on the wing), Walcott, Rosicky, Bendtner, Vela, Eboué, and possibly Armand Traoré and Jack Wilshere.  Nevertheless, if he continues to impress, his experience captaining the youth sides and his size and strength offer Arsène Wenger an alternative to the smaller, quicker players at the club.

Obviously, JET's performances so far have come against weaker opposition.  Nevertheless, his play has been composed, confident, and quality so far.  If he continues to improve at the rate he seems to have been, in a couple of years' time, he could be yet another piece of the academy puzzle falling into place for the Gunners.  Does he, along with Theo Walcott, represent the future of Arsenal's right wing?