Arsene Wenger says he was impressed by the performance of Ainsley Maitland-Niles against Nottingham Forest in the third round of the EFL Cup.
The 19-year-old, who usually operates as a midfielder, was given the nod to play at right-back ahead of the experienced Mathieu Debuchy and didn’t disappoint as the Gunners ran out comfortable 4-0 winners.
Speaking ahead of Arsenal’s next clash in the competition, against Championship side Reading, the boss noted that his latest young prospect has both the physical and technical qualities to succeed at the top of the game.
“He’s an interesting prospect because he does not have an imposing frame, but he’s mobile, he’s quick and he’s sharp technically,” the manager told Arsenal Player.
“He has a good eye, he can win the ball and he has the speed to fly into people and get the ball out of their feet. That’s a very interesting quality that you do not find often.
“He did extremely well at Nottingham Forest as a right-back, but maybe his best position is as a defensive midfielder at the moment.”
Maitland-Niles is expected to be one of a number of young players in the squad for tonight’s game at the Emirates, however, with the return to fitness of Carl Jenkinson – back from nine months out with an ACL injury – it seems likely he’ll start on the bench.