Wenger challenges Arsenal kid
Arsene Wenger has told Jay Emmanuel-Thomas it is up to him how much he achieves in the game.
By Ben Collins
Last Updated: 26/10/10 5:32pm
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has told Jay Emmanuel-Thomas it is up to him how much he achieves in the game.
The 19-year-old has made only two appearances for the Gunners so far but is set to feature in Wednesday's Carling Cup fourth-round tie with Newcastle.
The midfielder, who started out as a centre-back, played 25 Championship games on loan at Blackpool then Doncaster last season, scoring six goals.
And having continued to impress on his return to Arsenal, the youngster has been challenged by Wenger to reach his full potential.
"Jay is knocking very hard on my door - with two hands. He has outstanding quality," Wenger told the club's official website.
"He works very hard to get his fitness right. When his fitness is right, Jay will be not only be a good player but a great player.
"One thing is for sure - he can score goals. That is a massive talent you cannot give to people. His right foot, left foot - he is unbelievable in front of goal.
"This guy is an unbelievable finisher, inside and outside of the box. He has outstanding qualities, he has the build you dream to have.
"It is down to how far he wants to go because he has big potential."
Emmanuel-Thomas is one of several English youngsters coming through at Arsenal, with Jack Wilshere now playing regularly in the first team and making his senior international debut while Henri Lansbury scored in the third-round win at Tottenham.
"I like Henri very much, because of his quality, because of his attitude, his desire and determination," Wenger added.
"He is a Ray Parlour type, a guy who has a good team attitude, goes for the challenges, has an endless engine and has the timing to get into the box and finish - he showed that at Spurs. He is one of the players I want to keep at the club."
Lansbury could also feature against Newcastle but although Wenger has tended to name young sides for the Carling Cup in recent years, there will be plenty of experience in Wednesday's team as Arsenal target a first trophy since 2005.
"Of course we will rotate some players, but we will go with a big core of the first team," said Wenger. "It will be similar to what we did at Tottenham.
"It is difficult to say exactly who will play, but we will go with a side of 80 per cent first-team experience."