Date of Birth: December 27th 1990
Place of Birth: London, England
Previous Club(s): None
Jay Emmanuel-Thomas is a veritable giant. Towering over all opponents, he’s an absolute nightmare to defend against. Not least because of his versatility – he can play anywhere on the pitch, and indeed has done for Arsenal’s Under-18s and Reserves. His physical dominance naturally helps him, but he has quite fantastic technical ability as well.
He was named captain of Arsenal’s academy team as a 16 year-old first-year scholar, carrying his mature, well-spoken personality onto the pitch. In defence he’s composed and deals with danger casually but comprehensively. In midfield he can drive forward through packs of players, and when in attack he can finish with aplomb, and no shortage of clinical power.
He scored seven times in 2007/08 across academy and Reserve levels at Arsenal, and signed professional terms at the end of the season. How far he can go in the game depends on how well he adapts to the very best in football, because like it or not, his physical advantage at the levels at which he has so far played are likely to mask deficiencies yet to be seen.
Off the back of becoming a professional, Thomas took it to the next level in 2008/09. Despite once again playing in all number of positions, he led the Gunners’ goalscoring charts for much of the season whilst leading the Academy to great success in the league and FA Youth Cup. During Brazil’s training session at the Emirates Stadium prior to a mid-season friendly, Jay was one of four Arsenal youngsters to be called up for involvement by coach Dunga as he needed extra bodies for a session. Not only did he impress, but he also showed the great Ronaldinho how to score a free kick, crashing one past Júlio Cesar after watching the Milan forward toil time and again.