It has been a remarkable year for Arsenal man, Ainsley Maitland-Niles after he earned an England callup.
The Englishman started Mikel Arteta’s reign with some criticism after the Spaniard left him out of his first squads at the Emirates, questioning his application and attitude.
By the end of the 2019/20 season, he has become one of the Spaniard’s go-to men in the Arsenal team.
Arteta has picked him in important games like the FA Cup final and the FA Community Shield.
He shone in these games and his performance in the latter earned him a maiden call-up to the England national team.
The day of the Community Shield game was his birthday, he earned the Man of the Match award and he was given an England callup in a whirlwind day and he has just spoken about how the day went.
He spoke about how it was unbelievable that everything was happening so fast and at the same.
He had just toasted his birthday and was relishing his fine performance in the Community Shield, only for him to get a text that he had been selected to play for England.
Asked how good the feeling was to be called up, he replied via Independent: “It is a different kind of feeling, especially when Gareth must have text me after the game. I was just staring at my phone like, ‘nah…’
“He just said: ‘I would normally call you, but you are probably getting hassled by the media, so I’ve just text you to let you know, congratulations you’ve been called up’.
“I was just staring at my phone. I didn’t know what to reply back to him.
“I wouldn’t say I was nervous, I just had no words to respond. So I am just sitting there thinking: ‘is this real?’
“It didn’t make sense to me at the time. It was too good to be true almost. It was my birthday, I got man of the match, I scored a penalty – and then an England call-up – all in the same day. It’s crazy.
“I left it like five minutes because I didn’t know what to say. Literally I had no words for him, my fingers just froze. So I put my phone back down, locked it, and thought – ‘surely not!”’