It is always good to see Arsenal youngsters come through the Hale End Academy and join the Gunners first team squad. Alex Iwobi did it last year and was extremely impressive in the first half of the season, but Wenger doesn’t like overplaying his youth stars since the Jack Wilshere nightmare and he was sent back to the U21s after Christmas.
The latest graduate is Ainsley Maitland-Niles, who has shown some excellent form in the pre-season games in Australia and China, but I’m not sure if he did the right thing by taking out Franck Ribery in the Bayern match, which allowed Lewandowski to give the Germans a lead from the penalty spot. Maybe he just needs to learn to foul like that when the opponents are outside the box! Against Munich he started the match as a left wing-back but was moved into the centre-back role in the second half, but it usually considered a winger and has played a few times in central midfield as well.
The 19 year-old is very well respected and has been a regular in the England U19 and U20 sides, and was part of the winning side that won the U20 World Cup this summer. Although only once playing a cameo role against Newcastle in a League game, he has featured in 7 various Cup games for the Gunners, and will probably do so again in the upcoming campaign. He is versatile, strong and talented, which is exactly the way Wenger likes them, so he could be our next home-grown star of the future.
Good luck to him for the new season I say. He can only get better…..