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.

“Iโ€™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 donโ€™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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59 Comments on "Wenger: Defensive midfielder Maitland-Niles has a great future"

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Indian Gooner

We are never going to sign a defensive mid as such given our track record. Hopefully the boy makes it as one and helps us fill up the long standing void. Certainly looks like a decent player.

Ox in the Box

To be fair, with Coquelin and now AMN our academy has pretty good record at DM.I for one prefer seeing Ainsley play to buying superstar DM and shunting young players out.

DontForget

I prefer seeing the best players play for my favorite team. But hey thatโ€™s just me.

Harish P

And how will we know if he is or isn’t good enough without giving him the right opportunities?

Thomas Lambert

Marcus Mcguane who came on last night is apparently the most naturally talented DM our academy has ever seen. So defo one to keep an eye on

Dan Hunter

Maybe he can learn to get rid of the lapses of concentration and then teach the so called first team players how he did it

Kostas Greek Gooner

I liked him more down as a RWB. I believe he cannot improve so much in order to have the strategical vision necessary for a DM.

Ben Rivers

His best position is in the centre of the pitch and has been for some time. wingbacks is a good choice for wenger to have though, he likes playing people wide to shorten their technique, so to have the wing back option is great for developing central midfield players due to the abundance of defending and attacking in tight spaces throughout a match. Maitland niles will be a fantastic player for us im sure

78/79/80

Nope. Read it twice still don’t understand what you are saying.

Boom Xhaka Laca

‘Strategical vision’? Alright Ivan Gazidis.

nycgunner

Wenger: Defensive midfielder Maitland-Niles has a great future

*plays him at right wing back

Vin Unleaded

Mistakes won’t get so severely punished there. It also affords the player more space and time on the ball.

BromleyGooner

We can’t expect young players to excel in a position if they are never played there! Playing them out of position where they are uncomfortable just gives a knock to their confidence. I hope to see more of Maitland-Niles centre midfield and Nelson as one of the two behind the striker

Tony grayson

it’s a pretty good way to teach them new skills/boost certain attributes. if its against the likes of BATE, it’s not such a risk. Also, there are a heap of other young players begging to be played at cm/cdm

caligunner

He does play there for his U23 team. Unless you would rather him sit during this game and just watch playing him out of position but at a spot where he can grow his skills and technique wouldn’t hurt.

Igbo Amadi-Obi

Exactly. In a couple of years, we would have sacrificed expertise for versatility. It happened to Ox and he left in frustration. It happened to Coquelin and he was going to get sold. Bielik is still floundering many years on.

The manager resisted playing with wingbacks until late last season. But suddenly, everyone is getting shunted into wingback – Reiss Nelson, Ox, Bellerin (on the left!), Maitland-Niles…

Arsenalnut

Many years on? We bought him (Bielik) in 2015 and he’s 19 years old now. Floundering? Don’t let the facts get in the way of your negativism. Who do you support? Really?

Arsenalnut

And why is it nobody else called out Igbo Amadi-Obi for talking complete non-factual bollocks?

adriano

Gametime, son. He needs to play and we have so many CM’s who also don’t get enough games, but have seniority over AMN. Do we really have to explain this? It’s pretty simple…

Faisal Narrage

F*ck seniority and pecking order crap, let the best player play. Whether an established first teamed or a young up and comer.

Andy Mack

That sounds great but unfortunately it misses the fact that the majority of young players are very inconsistent in their performances, but they do need game-time.
Central/Defensive midfield are positions where a poor performance can be punished more than most others (GK and CBs are more pivotal), so AMN can learn more as a WB (preferably RWB) without crushing his confidence as much as having a bad game at DM.
On top of that, his original youth position of winger can help him in the role of WB.

akan

If you’ve ever watched that boy play you will know that he’s ready for senior action now. How old is Mbappe ? we were gonna pay over 100 million for him. He would never have had the chance under a coach like Wenger

Dave M

Mbappe would have been a killer RWB/LWB

caligunner

Yeah because Mbappe isn’t a once in generation type of potential? lol

Have some perspective.

intermediate_my_a***

and we refused to pay that certain commission/sign on fee that he was asking for when Wenger went to see him (Mbappe) last year….if reports r true. I wanna admire Wenger’s principles but at the same time…wtf!

Andy Mack

How old was Anelka when he played for us…

Bould\'s Eyeliner

Seniority is determined by who’s the best, right? That’s why debuchys got his panties in a bunch. Bellerin is some scary competition.

akan

You just read my mind son. The best player, regardless of age, should play. This hierarchy over talent bullshit is hurting the club. Its crazy and you damage the progress of young players for the sake of old favourites

caligunner

Then AMN would be sitting on the bench on Thursday night watching instead of playing because at this point in his young career he isn’t better then ME or JW.

Igbo Amadi-Obi

What DMs are those? Coquelin is out. Elneny and Xhaka played on Monday and would be playing again on Sunday. This is a chance to play Maitland-Niles in that position and have him grow some expertise.

caligunner

I guess instead of letting get invaluable experience with a 1st team just let him sit on the bench and watch the game. Awesome idea.

Matt

Most of our players will have a really bright future when Wenger retires.

And_Arsene_Said...

Wow!! Matt completely trodden on.

Rob67

“He has a great future” said Wenger of…………..fill in any name from the last ten years from Dan Crowley to Luke Freeman to Frimpong to whoever.

Wenger’s record of actual youth team development, as opposed to nicking them off Barca or Southampton is woeful. Three in twenty plus years.

Even when he went to Southampton he signed Walcott and ignored Bale. ๐Ÿ™ˆ

Mind you on the plus side we can at least say we had Harry Kane on our books for a year. When he goes to Real Madrid for ยฃ250 million we can dream of all the toupees Stan could have brought with that.

Jim2wheels

There was a table published a couple of years ago that showed Arsenal had produced the second highest amount of academy players to play premier league football.

It could be better, but hardly worth losing your shit over it.

Rob67

And what table was that ? A collapsible one from IKEA ?

ronaldo

yeah, but NOT with us

caligunner

Yeah because every club isn’t like this. Only Arsenal.

ronaldo

I agree with all that you say, but I don’t think all the money would have gone to the team, more like stans pocket

Andy Mack

The accounts are published every year where you can see what goes to Stan and his businesses. So it’s clear that at the moment he’s not taking loads out beyond a very questionable ยฃ3m ‘services supplied’ charge (which is a tiny amount compared to the value of the club).
When/If he starts to take serious money out then it’ll be clear for everyone to see but at the moment he isn’t.

Dan Hunter

He uses Arsenal as collateral for his other ‘ventures’. You don’t have to take money from the club to take money from the club

Rob67

For Gods sake Dan, don’t confront them with the truth ๐Ÿ™ˆ๐Ÿ™ˆ๐Ÿ™ˆ๐Ÿ™ˆ๐Ÿ˜ณ

Andy Mack

And the problem with that is what exactly?
Most of the moaners want him out and if he defaults on his repayments (which don’t appear to be coming out of AFCs pockets) then he’ll lose his shares, so the moaners will get what they want…
Still in no way comparable to ‘going into Stans pocket’.

Lettra

I always think this about everybody coming up so .. Even I myself don’t take myself to seriously anymore..

But Niles has the profile to make it
He is very very versatile while many talents see (OX) it as a curse… for a a future DM it’s a real Blessing he plays every position well but is never spectacular in any (other than the DM role) .He is rather fast as well which is badly needed in our center I hope he makes it all we need to do is beef him up a bit hopefully puberty will see to that. .

Central Fullbacks

Another central fullback in the making then

I AM ARSENAL

”capacity to steal the ball without making fouls”

ronaldo

niles cant make a tackle without making a foul

ramgooner

His all round game is fantastic and he is tenacious in tackling. He wasn’t so good in pre-season but it I could understand that as he joined the squad on the back off a gruelling U-20 World cup campaign. But, he still continues to make one or two lazy passes and it could cost us the game. Overall i must say he looked like a first team player from day one. Something about his mentality i like very much.

Faisal Narrage

Xhaka makes a ton of lazy passes and he’s our DM.

akan

Never mind the amount of lazy passes and lapses in concentration of our senior players including Ramsey Ozil Giroud Walcott, Ive seen Bellerin Monreal Mustafi and Mertersacker all have lapses in concentration and who can forget the amount of times the great Arteta cost us games. Its a feeble excuse to use his youth as a reason for not playing him instead of recognising that he is better than the present senior occupant (Xhaka) in that position right now

Skinnyarse

Isnโ€™t that what he said about the Ox though

Bould\'s Eyeliner

Yes and now look we nabbed 40 mil for him from Liverpool.

ronaldo

but that don’t mean he is a good player

Loose_Cannon

Exactly and sounds like Wenger hasn’t learned his lesson. If you say he’s a DM then bloody play him there! Because if he plays poorly at wing back he’s not going to blame himself, he’ll blame you/the club. If we’ve learned anything from the last decade it has to be that playing players in one position will NOT develop them for another

nimble foot

It’s not like Ox has been playing in the middle at Liverpool, Klopp’s doing pretty much the same thing

santori

Underrated.

Versatility but he also plays with a lot of responsibility.

I think he can line up with Elneny and Jack in midfield tomorrow.

ronaldo

not with us I hope, he is not good enough for arsenal

David Hillier\'s luggage
David Hillier\'s luggage

Tremendously underrated player, has all the attributes to be great midfielder – strong, wins the ball, makes good runs, can pick a pass, comfortable in possession and is very quick (something out central midfielders aren’t). I can’t remember the last time one of our players went out on loan to a Championship club at 17 and held down a first team place like he did a couple years ago.

Yes, he needs to work on concentration and positional aspects, those come with time – not everyone can be Cesc and boss it as an 18 year old. I almost see him in the Ray Parlour mould.

Up the Arsenal

Willock is fucked

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