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In focus: Jay Emmanuel-Thomas

2 February 2016 takes a closer look at Jay Emmanuel-Thomas, who has joined the Dons on loan until the end of the season.

Born in London, Emmanuel-Thomas joined Arsenal’s Academy at the age of eight, then as a midfielder. He progressed through to the Gunners’ Under-18s side, whom he captained, before signing his first professional contract the Emirates Stadium in the summer of 2008.

He was part of the first-team’s plans during the 2008/09 pre-season and featured as an unused substitute for Arsene Wenger’s side that campaign. He also performed well for the reserve and youth teams, captaining the latter to the Premier Academy League and scoring a goal in every round of the FA Youth Cup, en route to lifting the trophy.

Emmanuel-Thomas joined then-Championship outfit Blackpool on loan at the start of the 2009/10 season and scored one goal in seven starts for the Tangerines before returning to his parent club in November.

After five appearances on the substitute’s bench for the Gunners, he was handed his debut by Wenger in an FA Cup tie against Stoke City – Emmanuel-Thomas started the game and played 63 minutes.

At the end of January, Emmanuel Thomas returned to the second tier, this time with Doncaster Rovers. He scored five goals and provided four assists in 12 starts for the Rovers, helping them to a mid-table finish.

Emmanuel-Thomas clearly did enough during his two loan spells to earn himself a chance with the first-team as, in October later that year, he made his Premier League bow as a substitute in Arsenal’s clash with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

In January that season he made a third move to the Championship to spend time with Cardiff City. Scoring twice and setting up three goals in nine starts, Emmanuel-Thomas helped the Bluebirds reach the play-offs although they were beaten in the semi-finals.

Ipswich Town signed Emmanuel-Thomas for an undisclosed fee in July 2011, ending the forward’s 12-year association with the Gunners.

In two seasons at Portman Road, Emmanuel-Thomas contributed to 18 goals, scoring nine and providing the same amount of assists. His standout game came in a 5-1 victory over West Ham United, in which he scored a brace and set up another goal.

In July 2013, Emmanuel-Thomas was included in a swap deal for Bristol City’s Paul Anderson.

He scored on his debut for the Robins and went on to find the net a total of 21 times that campaign. Emmanuel-Thomas also claimed 12 assists which means he contributed to a whopping 33 goals in his first season at Ashton Gate.

His form in front of goal continued in 2014/15, en route to helping the Robins win the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy and lift the League 1 title. Emmanuel-Thomas contributed to 20 goals, scoring 12 and setting up a further eight.

That summer it was announced that Emmanuel-Thomas would join QPR upon the expiry of his two-year contract at Ashton Gate.

He made his debut for the R’s at the start of the 2015/16 season and scored his first goal for the club three days later in a Capital One Cup win over Yeovil Town. So far this campaign, Emmanuel-Thomas has scored five goals in eight starts and he’ll be looking to maintain that form during his time at MK1.

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