By Chris Harris
Jay Emmanuel-Thomas admits he grew up during his time on loan with Blackpool.
The highly-rated midfielder has just returned from a successful spell in the Championship where he played 12 games and scored a memorable goal at Doncaster Rovers.
Emmanuel-Thomas pulled on an Arsenal shirt for the first time this season when the Reserves lost 2-1 to Aston Villa on Wednesday night. After the game the 18-year-old admitted that his Lancashire experience helped him mature on and off the pitch.
"Going there and now coming back to Arsenal, I think I work a bit harder on the pitch now," he told Arsenal TV Online. "Technically it was different because there were more long balls but my work-rate has definitely improved.
"You grow up as a person as well because you are away from home and it's a chance to be independent and rely on yourself.
"It's totally different [away from Arsenal]. Even the little things like the food at the training ground or the training kit, everything is different and you have to get used to it. You realise that being at Arsenal is a privilege. My target is now to get into the first-team before the end of the season."
Subscribers can now watch the full interview with Jay on Arsenal TV Online. He discussed:
- his comeback for Arsenal Reserves
- Fran Merida's red card
- his role in the team at Blackpool
- whether he knows his long-term position yet
- the highlights of his loan spell
- the intensity of the Championship
- how it has changed him
- the reality check he received
- his targets for the rest of the season
- the Carling Cup trip to Manchester City