Mansfield Town manager Adam Murray has warned supporters that teenage midfield ace Jack Thomas is not yet the finished product and to be patient with him and the club’s efforts to bring him along.
The 18-year-old has returned from his first proper spell in ‘men’s football’ with a loan spell at Hednesford in the Conference North to play his first two full games for the Stags, winning man of the match in both for two dominant displays.
However, Murray warned: “We have got to be realistic. He has come in and is bouncing on adrenalin. That won’t continue. He will take a dip in performance at some point.
“It is up to the staff, myself and the supporters to manage it.
“He will be a great player, I have no doubts about that. But you can’t expect 10 out of 10 every week. He is a baby and we need to keep him under wraps. He never says a lot – he is a silent assassin!
“Jack has a bright future at the club as do some of the other lads coming through. We have three or four waiting in the wings and when the time is right we will see them.
“I wasn’t forced into playing Jack. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. I was trying to push him in last season.
“As a manager you have to take risks sometimes and just have to say go for it. Jack was a calculated risk.
“When we sent him to Hednesford, we told him he wasn’t being forced out here. We wanted him to spend a couple of months getting some proper football and getting beaten up.
“I joked with him that he would come back and run the show for me then we’d sell him for a million pounds. He can get us promotion first, though.”