Arsene Wenger says it’s possible that Ainsley Maitland-Niles could play in midfield against Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup tomorrow, but that injuries to Nacho Monreal and Sead Kolasinac may require him to keep the 20 year in the left-back/left wing-back position he’s played most of this season in.
The youngster performed well against Chelsea in midweek, and although his natural position is as a defensive midfielder, the lack of options in defence may prevent us seeing him more centrally.
Speaking about the idea of playing him there, Wenger said, “It’s a possibility. It’s his preferred position but at the moment I have Kolasinac out, Monreal out and I don’t have much choice on the left side unless I play another young boy in Josh Da Silva.
“I haven’t made that decision yet.”
The manager is set to rotate his squad, as much by necessity as design, and said he’s got faith in the players who have been somewhat on the fringes so far this season.
“I don’t see a difference with the guys who have played more in the Premier League than the guys who have played in the Europa League,” he said.
“It’s true that some of them have a bit of a harder life as they want to play as well.
“I rate their contribution and I rate them as players as high as the guys who play, but I have to make decisions.
“That’s the kind of problem that every manager has.”