The latest academy product to be promoted to the Arsenal first team is the 20 year-old Ainsley Maitland-Niles, who admits that he feels totally relaxed alongside the Gunners top stars after just four starts in the Premier League and he thinks he has already won the trust of his team-mates.
The official Arsenal website asked Maitland-Niles why he looked so calm despite his inexperience. “That’s just how I play,” he said. “I know people think, ‘Oh he looks too relaxed, he looks like this or that’, but it’s just me as a person.
“It is quite odd for a youngster, but the team make me feel more comfortable. They have trust in me and they will give me the ball when I need to be given the ball. It’s just the team who have helped me settle by working together and I think I’ve earned their trust.
“Of course I get nervous before the game too but, I think everyone has those little butterflies in their stomach. You’re playing against world-class players every week, so you’re bound to be nervous at some point in the day.
“I think my dad’s influence helped too. He’s a very relaxed person who likes to use his brain a lot without talking. If he can’t fix the situation then of course he’ll speak about it and try to solve it with other people. I’m like that too.”
He certainly looks and sounds like a first team player already. Is he definitely set to be a star of the future? Especially if Wenger ever plays him in his proper position! Wenger has alreasdy hinted that he could start in midfield against Forest this weekend….