Arsenal boss hails Maitland-Niles as the ‘future’, but what about Kolasinac?

Ashley Maitland-Niles has become a first-team regular in recent months and Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger hailed him as ‘the future’, but does he deserve to be first-choice?

The young defender has impressed heavily since breaking into Wenger’s key plans, and the youngster has spoken out about his emergence through the ranks.

“Even before I was playing full back, I used to train with the first team at full back when the boss called me over,” Maitland-Niles told Arsenal Player.

“It just showed that he really believed in me already, so I just thought I had to take some stuff on in case I needed it in the future. That’s the type of person I am. I wouldn’t look at the negatives like, ‘Oh I don’t want to play at full back’, I would always try to take something out of the session. I did learn a lot.

“Per’s just been saying for me to keep my focus at all times. I should always keep in constant communication with my centre back. When it was with Rob [Holding] either he would go and I’d drop or I would go and he’d drop. It was just about winning the ball.

“I’ve been focusing on [improving my heading too] and getting up, the timing and heading the ball. I do have an alright leap but it’s just about timing, keeping my eye on the ball and then wanting to win the headers against the bigger strikers.”

The defender has been hailed as the future of the club recently, but is he deserving of his new role?

Sead Kolasinac joined the club on a free transfer last summer, and quickly became a fans favourite with a number of passionate, hard-fought and impressive displays, and was seen to have brought the type of fight needed to bring some guile to our first-team.

The wing-back has since found himself wanting, with the former youth product displacing him as first-choice, but which defender is worthy of being first-choice? Does Wenger prefer youth to experience or is Maitland-Niles simply better?

Pat J

Tags Arsenal Kolasinac maitland-niles


  1. Eat Pie says:

    Wenger is doing another Poldolski.

    No reason except delusion.

  2. CorporateMan says:

    Maitlan-Niles should be alternate to Belerin rather than Kolasinac. We need Kolasinac to be playing regularly

  3. Goonermay68 says:

    Hes good. BUT hes not a full back. Hes MIDFIELDER! Whatever the french ‘ log’ thinks.

    1. AndersS says:

      Exactly. His defensive skills aren’t very good, and it has cost us. Give him a chance in midfield.

      1. TheAnalyzer says:

        So if he is not good defensively, how will he help in team in defensive midfield role?

        1. Vlad says:

          I know, right?

  4. Gelz says:

    Niles may be the future but he’s not a LB, Kolasnic is a ready made LB and should be first choice and Montreal back up if his form drops or is injured. Niles is young and enough happy just to be playing regardless of the position. In his short time he has played RM, RB,CM and now LB Lwb, he would probably tell you his preferred position is midfield, if he continues playing out of position I can see another Ox situation happening.

    1. TheAnalyzer says:

      As his coach which is his rightful position?

    2. Sven Knows Best says:

      Who said he was a LB??

      Check once in a while, please.

      AMN is a long-term candidate for the defensive midfield position. The reason why the Professor has played him as a full back is to improve his all-round game.

      Niles himself has said he sees himself playing on the wing, which is ‘his natural position.’

      Seriously, people, show some dilligence.

  5. Sue says:

    I want to see a lot more of Kolasinac ❤

  6. barryglik says:

    When a player has a run
    of good performances
    he is quickly labelled
    the “future’ of the club
    Bellerin Holding Chambers Koscielny Kolasinac
    Xhaka Ramsey Wilshere Ozil Cazorla Sanchez Giroud
    after a couple of top games have often been labelled as the
    inspiration talisman capable of leading the club to multiple trophies.
    A couple of bad games later and they are dismissed as useless 🙂
    Remember the English core who were going to make
    Arsenal world champs for a decade.
    A couple are on Merseyside one is at WBA
    while Jenko was at the mighty Birmingham.

  7. Konstantin Mitov says:

    Anybody noticing how we’re scraping the Auba deal, because we don’t want to pay 10 more millions? Like we didn’t sell 2 more and cant sell Giroud for 20 at least?

    1. McLovin says:

      Sure. But I am more confident now that Mislintat and Fahmy are negotiating the deals, rather than Wenger influencing the deals. Everyone knows Wenger dithers and rather than ending the negotiations, just walks away.

      1. John Ibrahim says:

        Dein used deal with the negotiations with the club contract lawyer….

        Wenger’s part is either yes or no

        Currently the role is split between Gazadis, Fahmy and Raul….since its Germany and Dortmund…Lehmann went first followed by Mislintat….

    2. Sven Knows Best says:

      The problem is not his quality.

      The problem is that a pacey forward who gets injured is worth almost nothing after the age of 30. Auba is 28, so there’s a big risk (what with our injury record) that if we pay the 62 mill pounds (70 mill euro), we’ll be paying a large salary plus not get anything after 3 years.

      Transfer fee depend only partially on the player’s quality.
      Other factors are age, reliance on pace, length of the current contract, etc

  8. Phil says:

    AMN is a young lad finding his feet in a defence that has no tactical nous and no cosistency in both line up and personnel.Oh and he happens to be a midfielder and not a LB/LWB even though he is making a pretty good show of himself.He is going to be a good player but not in Defence although always good to have the cover. Kolasinac looks to be a perfect fit at either LB or LWB but needs a run of games in a settled formation.I believe he will improve considerably when he gets this first season under his belt NOTE Bergkamp Pires Henry

  9. adi says:

    Niles as fullback is only a good thing. He doesnt stand a chance in midfield role atm. It will increase his fitness and work rate, understanding as a winger.

    I agree he should be RB instead of LB, but maybe Wenger doesnt want to lose Bellerin confidence

    1. Phil says:

      Do you not think he is worth a run out in place of Xhaka bearing in mind how inconsistent he has been.Take your point though

      1. Sven Knows Best says:

        Yes, I think AMN will be a long-term replacement for Xhaka.
        But we should not take it for Granit. 😀

  10. wilshegz says:

    1st Choice LB/LWB – Kolasinac
    2nd choice LB/LWB- Monreal
    3rd choice LB/LWB – Niles

    1st Choice RB/RWB- Bellerin
    2nd choice RB/RWB- Niles
    3rd choice RB- Chambers

  11. JustJoy says:

    This compliment having a large Squad to cover for injuries.

  12. John Ibrahim says:

    Its all about competition….fans are now worrying about Kolasinac just like Lacazette…

    the same happen few years ago when Monreal was brought in….Gibbs and Monreal competing

  13. Well Kolasinac is on a hefty 150k per week so Wenger ought to find a way to get him back in the team.

  14. TheAnalyzer says:

    ‘He [Kolasinac] is highly suited for a wing-back role, for a more offensive role,’ said Wenger.

    ‘I think he will play again and I gave him a breather as well.

    ‘He is working hard and I think he will play in a back four, as well.’

    This answers the whole article and it was said on 28 December 2017

  15. Franko says:

    He impressed in the beginning but now his lack of experience is showing and he has been giving the ball away and making silly mistakes. I think he should replace Coquelin in DM and not play out of position at left back. Kolasinac should compete with Monreal there.

  16. SuperClaes says:

    Would say Maitland Niles needs to learn fast as suspect in his positioning and dangerous with passes out of defence! Also seems to sometimes switch off and let players drift away into dangerous positions. So hope Monreal is back tonight as otherwise I see his mistake costing us the tie…

    Right now I believe this another “pet” project by Wenger that may backfire badly!

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