Ainsley Maitland-Niles says making his first Premier League start was the ‘best feeling’ although he admits he was left disappointed that Arsenal could do no more than draw 0-0 with West Ham.
Arsene Wenger selected the England Under-20 international on the left of a four-man backline for the trip to the London Stadium and the youngster not only coped well with the pressure but often acted as a useful outlet against an opponent determined to sit deep.
After the game, Maitland-Niles told Arsenal.com: “It was the best feeling I’ve felt so far to be honest. It’s great to be out there with the lads behind me, and they keep urging me forward to try to get goals. That’s fantastic.
“[I’m] very disappointed [with the result], but words can’t describe how I feel right now. We should have won the game. We could have lost it at the last second, so there’s loads of emotions right now.”
On how he tried to approach the game and the help he had from his teammates, he added: “I was trying to get forward as much as possible and help the team to get a goal.
“Everyone just tells to do what I do in every game and training session. They say to get my head up and be myself and express myself and that’s what I tried to do today.”
Next up, the Gunners host Newcastle United on Saturday. After three games without a win, they know they need three points to kick-start their push for a top four place.
“We’ve got our home crowd behind us and I think that could be what we’re missing in terms of getting that finishing touch on a goal,” noted Maitland-Niles.
Here’s hoping the young lad is right.