If you all remember, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was used as a jack-of-all-trades by Arsene Wenger in his time at Arsenal, and Le Prof finally decided that his best position was as a wingback.
This did not go down well with the Ox and he made it clear when he went to Liverpool that he had no intention of playing that role in his new club, but it was definitely instrumental in him forcing Arsenal to accept Liverpool’s offer.
Now Mikel Arteta is using both Maitland-Niles and Bukayo Saka as makeshift wing-backs, and both are in danger of being definined in those roles. Maitland-Niles has already made it clear he wants to be a midfielder, and now Saka has also reiterated that he is only using this to learn more before returning to his favoured winger position. The youngster told Arsenal.com: “I’ve learned a lot about how wingers in the Premier League play against defenders and how to position myself because in his system it’s different,”
“I get to play much higher because the winger comes inside and I get to go. There’s a lot of space for me and it’s good for me. I’m playing sort of as a winger when we have the ball but without the ball I have to come back and work on my clearances, my heading and stuff I haven’t worked on my whole life. I feel like I’m doing ok right now.
“In the future if I do get to go back onto the wing I feel like I know how full backs play and playing as a full back I know what wingers do, what I like them to do and what I don’t like them to do. It’s a good learning experience for me.
“I’m really enjoying my football under the new manager. It’s not my natural position but he’s given me all the advice I need. I’ve got Granit behind, David supporting and speaking to me, so it gives me licence to go and express myself in the final third and do what I can do.”
He says it’s not his ‘natural position’ but he doesn’t sound as unhappy as the Ox did in his last few months and he is being very positive. Hopefully both him and AMN will be restored to their normal positions now that we have more defensive cover coming in….