Has Maitland Niles Proved He Can Play In Our Midfield? By Dan
Maitland Niles has defended his loan move to West Brom although he might be trying to convince himself it’s been better than it has been?
It seem 2 of the three objectives have failed, the Baggies are going to get relegated and he’s not going to go to the Euros, unless there are serious amount of injuries.
The third – breaking into Arsenal’s midfield? That remains to be seen.
Since his move in January, Big Sam has played him in every Prem fixture possible.
While he hasn’t played poorly, he hasn’t done enough to be picked ahead of a Xhaka or Thomas Partey, but maybe could be an option when Ceballos’s loan ends and/or Elneny leaves?
Yet if it was a case of proving you are better than Elneny, you could have done that in training. The fact is three managers at Arsenal have now only rated the academy graduate good enough to be a rookie full back. Southgate equally only selected him for England as a left back. Southampton wanted to loan him but equally as a wing back.
So that’s 5 coaches who don’t view the player as the ‘midfielder’ he sees himself as.
Big Sam has played him in his chosen position, but he’s hardly going to be teaching tactics that are in line with Mikel Arteta’s ethos?
The local Birmingham media suggest that getting relegated but playing every week is better than being a squad player at a mid-table club.
Yet at the Emirates he’s already played in a Europa League Final, an FA Cup Final and got International recognition. He might even miss out on another Final this season.
So there were positives if Maitland Niles had embraced being an understudy to Tierney and Bellerin. Both of their injury records suggest he would have got minutes, just not in his favoured role.
A top sportsperson should back their own ability, and in a sense it’s admirable that Is why Niles has done. At the same time you need to listen to those around you.
His best scenario is that he jumps up the midfield pecking order, but he would still be on our bench and still seen as someone who can do a job at full back.
Or has he put himself in the shop window?
It’s believed Arteta spoke up for the player last summer and talked the Gunners out of accepting a 20 million bid from Wolves. Unless the Spaniard plans to use him in midfield (at the very least third choice) then it might be hard for Arsenal to turn down a similar offer.
Has Maitland Niles done enough on loan to get into our midfield?
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