Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Arsenal starlet looks some real future prospect. Ainsley can feature as winger, midfielder or even as a wingback with his defensive capabilities.
Ainsley made his senior debut for Arsenal against Galatasaray(Champions League) in 2014. But with inadequate game time he was soon loaned out to Ipswich Town. The Arsenal academy product Maitland-Niles had spent 1 year loan period at Ipswich Town.
With Arsenal in the Europa League this season, Arsene Wenger put the depth of squad to some real use. Which gave Maitland-Niles an opportunity to feature at the highest level with Arsenal. Ainsley Maitland-Niles started in all Europa League games for Arsenal and also got some opportunity in League Cup.
His performances highly impressed not only Arsene Wenger but also Arsenal supporters around the globe. Hard work and exceptional performances paid off soon for the 20-year Hale End product, he was started in three consecutive matches in Premier League ahead of Gunners summer recruit Sead Kolasinac.
This raised many eyebrows of the football pundits. But as we all know Arsene Wenger is always in the favour of giving chance to the the young players in his side.
And one of the surprise package came when Maitland-Niles was in the Arsenal’s starting eleven against Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool. The starts against West Ham United and Newcastle United may be understood as providing game time opportunity to English youngster at the highest level, but when Sead Kolasinac was benched against Liverpool – You know Wenger is developing some real superstar outta him.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles is really good in one on one situations, he possesses a great speed; thus he can track back to defence rapidly. Against Liverpool Wenger used him eye-in-eye with attacking threats of one of the best winger in Premier League at the moment Mohamed Salah. Wenger also ascertained that it was a learning curve for a player of 20 years old. He will gain experience from this kind of tough matches which would help him to become a star player in future.
With the confidence Arsene Wenger had shown towards Maitland-Niles, we can surely expect to see him more frequently starting for Arsenal. But he will have to face competition from Sead Kolasinac as the former Schalke defender has far more experience than Maitland-Niles.
Despite good performances for Arsenal so far the situation is really difficult for Kolasinac to sit on the bench in the PL games. He will try to impress Wenger more in practice sessions and whenever he will get the chance to be playing in Arsenal colours.
One thing is very clear from the above discussion that Kolasinac have now got a real tough competitor ahead of him and the Arsenal fans should expect a healthy competition between these two for the rest of the season.