Is Maitland-Niles good enough to be a future Arsenal legend?

Maitland Niles WengerArsenal’s newest first team player, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, has impressed the Boss enough in the last few years to persuade him to play him on a more regular basis, and the 20 year-old feels that it is Wenger’s advice that has given him the confidence to compete with the more senior players.

“The more you go over to train with the first team when you’re young they get to know you more, see what you’re about,” Maitland-Niles told “They get to trust you more and then you start having little conversations with the boss then and there and you can ask him things, what he thinks you need to improve on, and he will tell you the honest truth.

“The best advice he’s given me is just to be confident in myself, play with no barriers up and show what I can do. He’s also helped me with my ball winning. He told me I have the ability to do so if I put my mind to it and just really focus on those sorts of things. He’s told me not to be so relaxed in games and really go for it, and I think I’ve been putting it into work more and more recently.”

Ainsley has been an ever-present in our Europa League and Carabao Cup sides, and has now started twice for the first team, although for some reason Wenger keeps playing him in different positions for him to learn his trade.

The boss said about Maitland-Niles: “Certainly his focus is better,” Wenger said on “I think at the start of the season, the fact that I used him in defensive positions maybe made him realise that there’s no opening where he dreams to play but there could be an opening where he doesn’t dream to play.

“It takes you a while to adapt and to realise sometimes as well that you have the needed qualities to play in these positions. He is thinking like a defender and that’s what you want from him.

“It’s the quality of concentration. He has huge physical qualities as well. His recovery runs are good, he’s good in one against ones. Of course the challenge is to continue to develop, to continue to improve. He has a lot to do but when you get a chance in life, take it. That’s what you want from him now.”

Has he done enough to persuade you that he is an Arsenal star of the future?



  1. shark says:

    He can be if he will not play WBRL and AMRLC in the next 2 years.

  2. allan says:

    Arsene Wenger tries young players in defensive positions midfield on the wing,but very rarely as an an attacking option for any length of time 5mins here etc.I wish he would give Nketiah a good run or even Nelson as an all out striker.

    1. Enfield Gunner says:

      Ainsley is clearly a good footballer and despite my anxiety did well at LB v Newcastle. What I don’t understand is AW taking huge risks by playing young players out of position especially when we have the best LB in the German league last season on the bench. I don’t know whether it is genius or arrogance but AFC is not an experiment.

  3. rkw says:

    haven’t had a player breakthrough from academy and become a top class player for years … lots of anticipation but most fall by wayside with one or two occasionally becoming a decent squad member … iwobi and ballerin look like being the latest … niles has qualities but must be as confused as hell with Wenger

  4. Sue says:

    I’m not sure if he’ll be a legend but I have to admit I do like what I’ve seen from him in the last few games…. but I’m not sure if playing him against Liverpool is a good idea

  5. John Ibrahim says:

    City just played a few youngsters in the league cup and the media are giving so much coverage and praises….

    1. Sue says:

      Typical! All they say about our game is the empty seats!!!

      1. John Ibrahim says:

        Exactly….no praise but all critics

  6. Adeniyi says:

    Hi guys….. Methinks Maitland-Niles being played left back is a tactical switch by wenger to accomodate wilshere as we would have too many left footed players making our play lop-sided.otherwise we would have kolasonic,monreal,xhaka,wilshere and ozil,we can add cech to the list

  7. Pablo says:

    who also thinks Wenger believe in Willock more than he does in Nelson??? can’t wait for that boy to get a chance in the number 10 role he could be our Hazard

  8. samuel says:

    Yes he is but i hope and pray he progress very well becouse many has not hit the nail.

  9. jon fox says:

    Why use the emotive word “legend” in the writers question? Talk about putting pressure on the young man, Mr. Admin! Players do use social media and this will get round to AM-N one way or another. I will answer my own more moderate question, rather than the writers overhyped one. Will AM-N become a valuable member of the team then? Yes he will and he is already virtually in as a regular and I believe he will certainly be a regular starter when fit, from now on, quite likely to replace the awful Xhaka, rather than Kolasinac. As for being a future legend, I will leave that to the fantasists and hype lovers, one of whom clearly wrote the article.

  10. Ignasi says:


    Not under Wenger. He isn’t hard enough in tackles and 50/50s and often gets bumped off the ball in challenges. He’s average attacking, below average defending. In my eyes, not too dissimilar to Gibbs.

    He would be a decent signing for a mid table team.

  11. Vlad says:

    Geez. Give the kid a break. He’s only played in a handful of games, so I think it’s a little premature to talk about him becoming a legend. One game, one season at a time…

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