Maitland-Niles admits he didn’t think he would make it at Arsenal

Ainsley Maitland-Niles was the youngster that made the biggest impression on the Arsenal first team last season, making 15 League appearances and 28 overall, although rarely in his preferred central midfield, and he capped it off by signing a new improved long-term contract with the Gunners.

But the 20 year-old admitted that he did not think he was going to make it until his father persuaded him to start believing in his natural ability. “It was when I was about 14,” Maitland-Niles said on “I wouldn’t tip myself as one of the top players in my group back then, because I was so small and there were a lot of people who were [more] physically developed at my age and I was one of the smaller players.

“I sat down with my Dad and he said, ‘If you really want to progress then you need to start believing in yourself, believe in your ability because you have it there’. I started to watch game tapes and seeing things that i didn’t see in myself before.

“[At one point when I was younger] I was very close to being cut from Hale End. Liam Brady sat me down and said I had a lot to work on, so I just got my head down and worked hard on and off the field.

“It was my finishing at the time that made my coaches believe in me, and I had a lot of energy so I was always running up and down. I guess they saw something in me that I didn’t see in myself at the time.”

And he surely did improve and it was revealed that Unai Emery has big plans for the 20 year-old when he was interviewed for the Arsenal job, and he certainly has a big future in front of him. We should all thank his Dad (and Liam Brady) for persuading him to keep at it.

He will play a big part in the Unai era at Arsenal….


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  1. John Ibrahim says:

    most Arsenal fans want the club to become like Psg or City…

    hence amn has to impress fast as hes neither big name or big tag player

    1. GunnerJack says:

      Can’t agree. I think most Arsenal fans are happy to give the new setup a chance and, except for a tiny minority, not many expect Arsenal to enter the PSG or City way of doing things.

      1. Ingleby says:


  2. Nayr says:

    under unai emery.

    the biggest star in my opinion will be emile smith rowe.

    remember his name.he will become worldclass.

  3. Chiza says:

    Emile-smith-rowe…remember this name.. A new Star has been born in North London!!!!…will be far better than de bryune

    1. Lupe says:

      I don’t think comparing players is a good idea. We don’t know if he will even become a good player in the future talk less of becoming better than de bruyne. A high percentage of our youth players don’t live up to the hype but its a new era so hoping it could all change.

  4. John0711 says:

    AMN is quality he’s better than Xhaka and Ramsey
    He should start alongside Torreira week in week out

    1. Break-on-through says:

      You mean he could be. Ramsey would walk into that England set up. Xhaka is one of the Swiss teams best players. Ramsey earned his place last season. Niles has been youth team football up until last season, a season when Ramsey is Arsenals best overall. Niles played well but come on, talk about hype. He has plenty of potential, and he played some good games last season but I also remember some very bad ones. He’ll get another chance this season but to put him ahead of Ramsey without him yet proving he deserves to start, I thought fans wanted players to earn their roles? I hope he plays better than them all, that’d be great, but we need to see it first.

  5. gotanidea says:

    Maitland-Niles could be a very good DM, because he is fast, has high stamina, aggressive and good technique

    But I think Arsenal would use Torreira and Chambers as DM, so Maitland-Niles could be a box-to-box CM or full/ wing back

    1. Patrick_G says:

      That is possible, I can see the benefit of having Chambers next to Torreira, we will have that strength in front of defense. I would actually play Sokratis and Mav/Mustafi in defense. Niles would be the player to fight Chambers for a position. But dont see all three Torreira, Chambers and Niles playing the same time.

  6. Sue says:

    I hope he plays more this season, love watching him, so cool & calm

  7. Nicholas says:

    Chambers is no dm and he will let you all down like he has in the past

    AMNIS FAR BETTER younger, stronger, faster, more skillful, dribbles better, passes better

  8. ruelando says:

    Niles is a box to box midfielder, Emery loves his energy, looking forward to how he may be used this season.

    OT. I am wondering what position Chambers and Guendouzi was used yesterday in the match.

  9. Stephen says:

    I am of the opinion that AMN will hit the ground running this season if given the opportunity

    1. Phil says:

      I agree-but AMN must remember he hasn’t made it YET.He is young and needs to work hard but I have the feeling Emery likes him and will give him game time playing CENTRALLY in midfield.This boy is a top prospect but it’s now up to him to get his head down and prove himself out on the pitch

  10. Diana says:

    I actually think that a pairing of Torreira and Maitland-Niles is a better pairing than Torreira and Chambers. I however actually believe that Chambers would make a better DM than a CB. I do think however that he will continue to develop more as a CB except maybe the first few games of the season where i suspect he will play more as a DM. If we play a 3-5-2 formation, i would have AMN+Torreira and Ramsey in front of them. Ozil would be better, but having Ramsey out wide is worse than having Ozil out wide though that also is not very idea.

    I believe in this kid and i hope Maitland-Niles, Gendouzzi, Jeff and Simth-Rowe will get a full Carabao and Europa run, because they are at that stage where they need game time. I doubt any of the most promising will be sent out on loan so i expect they are staying. What i hope happens is a surprise sell of Xhaka. He may be Switzerland’s best player. Just not OURS. And maybe our set upu doesnt work for him. Whatever the case, he hasnt delivered thus far

  11. Diana says:


  12. Gifted says:

    Torreira, AMN and Guendouzi is our future midfield trio guys…With Emile smith Rowe as the 10…The future certainly looks bright

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