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Jake Thomson at former club TorquayWinger Jake Thomson is relishing the chance to play in front of former boss George Burley when Exeter City take on Crystal Palace tonight.

The Grecians summer signing says the Eagles boss had a big effect on his career during their spell at Southampton together five years ago.

And so Thomson is keen to show Burley the kind of player he has become by turning in a good performance for the Grecians against Palace at Ladysmead this evening.

The duo have already bumped into each other a few times this week, because Palace are staying at the same hotel as Thomson during their pre-season tour of the Westcountry.

And those chance meetings have only heightened Thomson's excitement ahead of the clash against his ex-manager's current side.

Thomson said: "George Burley brought me in at a young age at Southampton.

"It was under the next manager that I actually made my debut, but George did have a big part to play in my development as a youngster.

"I had just come into the club fresh from school and after two weeks I was told I would train with the first team and I spent a large part of that year training with the first team.

"I never got into any first team squads but I felt the whole experience really helped me.

"They are staying at the same hotel as me so I have bumped into him a few times and he has asked me how I was getting on, which was nice.

"I saw him after the Weston game and he was saying it would be good to see me play and he was asking how Exeter were getting on.

"I know we are playing at Tiverton and it's a short drive, but I hope quite a few people will travel to watch it because I think it will be a good game."

The 21-year-old became manager Paul Tisdale's third signing of the summer when he was snapped up on a free transfer at the start of the month.

The move offers Thomson a chance to nail down his place in the side as the Grecians were looking for someone who can offer them more width.

So far the former Saint has featured in all three pre-season games and admits he is still pinching himself at how quickly he seems to have settled into life at St James's Park.

"I think it's the nicest team I have ever played for. All the lads are really good people and I can't believe how quickly I've settled in," Thomson said.

"There's not one person there you can say anything bad about because they are all such a nice bunch of lads.

"It was real easy — from the first time I came to training they were all coming over and introducing themselves and made you feel part of the team.

"The whole team atmosphere is the best I have been involved in, easily. There are no groups.

"The clubs I have been at before have had groups of players that have stuck together, but here everyone stands and talks to everyone else, which is pretty special because I have never seen that before.

"I have also settled into Exeter very well. I have not seen too much of the city, but a few of the lads have shown me around and I think it is an ideal place to come and play football."

Grecians failed to perform, says Jake.
Express & Echo.

Exeter City did not play to their potential during their 2-1 defeat to Weston-super-Mare, according to Jake Thomson.

The Grecians took an early lead against their Conference South hosts when striker Daniel Nardiello struck his second goal of the pre-season campaign on Wednesday night.

But the Seasiders struck back in the second half to inflict City's first defeat of pre-season and Thomson admits there is plenty of room to improve.

The former Southampton man said: "You can't read too much into it, but it is still disappointing when you lose games of football.

"Having more senior players in the team does help, but the players who played on the night were more than capable of beating Weston comfortably, so I think we just weren't used to playing with each other and didn't do well at all.

"You want to win, but pre-season is about getting fit and sharp so the result is not really important. We aren't going to get berated for losing to them."

Thomson showed glimpses of what he is capable of against Weston, but the winger admitted it was not the type of game he could have a big impact on.

The 21-year-old said: "The game at Bath (on Tuesday night) was a lot better, the team performed better and I got more out of it. I felt fit but I thought I did better against Bath because I didn't get involved too much against Weston — it was a bit of a nitty-gritty game.

"But I'm still getting used to all the players, the formations we use and how we defend, which all helps."