Wenger: Defensive midfielder Maitland-Niles has a great future

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Arsene Wenger says that Ainsley Maitland-Niles best position is as a defensive central midfielder, and that if he can work on his concentration he’s got a bright future ahead of him.

The 19 year old has become slowly more involved with the first team over the last 6-9 months, and was officially promoted from the underage levels this summer.

So far, however, he’s been used primarily as a wing-back as the Gunners have a shortage of options there, and it gives him a chance to play.

Ahead of another start tomorrow against BATE Borisov in Belarus, the Arsenal manager said he was convinced of his quality, but warned he has to master the mental side of the game too.

“His best position is central defensive midfielder,” said the Frenchman. “He has great quality, exceptional pace, capacity to steal the ball without making fouls.

“I’m convinced he is ready to play. He has to improve a little bit on the concentration front because the demands of top level football don’t tolerate some lapses of concentration, but all the rest is there.

“He has a great future.”

Maitland-Niles could play at left or right wing-back tomorrow.

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