Ainsley Maitland-Niles is currently a youth product on Arsenal’s books, who after spending a year on loan in the Championship, has managed to grab his chance of being offered a role in the Arsenal first team. Many fans wouldn’t have expected Maitland-Niles to be given the role he is currently occupying in Arsene Wenger’s plans, but his presence in the squad is promising for his talent nevertheless.
Maitland-Niles is predominately a winger and has played on the wing as a number seven for the majority of his youth career at Arsenal. A regular feature for the Gunners youth sides, Maitland-Niles got a loan to Championship side Ipswich, where despite a lack in statistical proof (ie. Goals and assists), Maitland-Niles did actually impress and he has returned to Arsenal very much in Arsene Wenger’s plans.
Many fans were left surprised to see Maitland-Niles present in the starting line up against Nottingham Forest last week in the EFL cup match. The majority had been expecting Mathieu Debuchy to line up as the second choice right back, but instead Wenger gave Maitland-Niles a chance to shine in the position and he was absolutely fantastic on his starting debut for the club.
Now as a matter of rewarding him for that performance, Wenger has named Maitland-Niles in the squad to face Basel, which could be an opportunity for the Englishman to show what he is capable of once again. It is however expected that he is likely to take up a position on the bench.
It was only yesterday that Carl Jenkinson, who I assume to be Arsenal’s actual second choice right back behind Bellerin, instead of Debuchy, had returned to training. Although this game was obviously far too early for Jenkinson to make his return after missing most of 2016, it seems as if Maitland-Niles has left a lasting impression on Wenger and an impression that Le Prof would like to experiment with again.
Will we see Maitland-Niles in the line-up tonight?