The 18-year-old manned the midfield fort as Arsenal attempted to claw back a 1-0 deficit the night after a gruelling eight-hour round trip to Bristol for an under-19 game — also won 1-0.
“Very tough,” panted Jacko, struggling to finish his sentence. “Considering a few of us played for the under-19 sideÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¢ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…Â¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¬ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¦I’m knackered after that.”
But shouldn’t ones so young be able to cope with such demands?
“Ah, that’s probably the most tired I’ve felt at the end of that game, it was really hard. It was just a case of getting on with it, you can’t look for excuses, we had to stick with it. We were 1-0 up early so we had to try and hold on to that lead, that was the main thing, just work as hard as we could to hold onto that.
“I’m just pleased to be getting games at the moment, pleased to be getting games at reserve level because at the start of the season I wasn’t getting many. Recently I’ve been playing in most of them."
One factor that helps the youngsters overcome any lingering feelings of fatigue is being able to strut their stuff in first team stadia — Jacko and his fellow under-19s thrived on playing at Ashton Gate and the Lane this week.
“You feel you are up for the games more when it’s in an arena like this, no disrespect to St Albans, it doesn’t inspire you as much as White Hart Lane does. Especially with the pitch and, if you can get a decent crowd in that helps as well with a little bit of atmosphere and them getting behind you.”
Against Arsenal, Theo Foley’s side were dwarfed by their Highbury counterparts but, while he admits that this bring its own problems, Johnnie believes that this can be turned into an advantage.
“They were a big side, very physical. You’ve got to look at that if they’re big, the smaller players are going to have a better opportunity against them because they might not be so mobile. You’ve got to look at their weaknesses.”
So is it a few days off for Johnnie and double-up boys? Not a bit of it.
“Back Saturday with the under-19s — two days training then back to it.”
By Richard Hubbard
Johnnie Jackson was certainly not ready for a curtain call on Wednesday evening after playing the role of midfield enforcer for two days in a row.