By Declan Taylor

One man who kept a keen eye on transfer window proceedings was midfielder Jay Emmanuel-Thomas as he continues to stake his claim for a first-team place.

The 17-year-old made his Arsenal debut against Seville as the Gunners retained their Amsterdam Tournament crown in August and Thomas is looking to build on that.

After signing his first professional deal in the summer, the versatile youngster is well aware of the rewards that hard work can bring.

“Obviously if I’m performing well then good things will happen,” he told “You wouldn’t believe how happy I am, for them to value me enough to offer me a pro contract at my age means a lot. It is one of the dreams you have as an aspiring footballer


"It was a quality experience to play in the first team and it was a much quicker tempo than what I’m used to in the Under-18s.

“It was the biggest crowd I’ve played in front of but I wasn’t nervous because of that. If anything I was nervous to be given the opportunity in the first team. It was a big step for me.

“I didn’t even know I’d be playing until the day we were leaving, it definitely put a big smile on my face. It was a friendly tournament so I thought it would be a nice relaxed game but I was wrong.”

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9 Sep 2008