Maitland-Niles making an impact for both club and country


It has been a very good week for Ainsley Maitland-Niles. Not only has the versatile youngster helped England U20s to the brink of glory in the World Cup for that age group but he has also been mentioned by Arsene Wenger as a candidate to break into the Arsenal first-team squad next season.

Capable of playing on the right-wing, at right-back or as a central-midfielder, Maitland-Niles is composed in possession, breaks forwards with ease and is effective at winning the ball back.

Of all the youngsters in the U23 set-up he was the closest to the senior squad this campaign and ended up making seven first-team appearances to add to the two outings he received a couple of seasons previously.

A loan spell at Ipswich Town in between helped him to mature and Maitland-Niles is now thriving at international level, too, with his performances having helped England to reach the final of the U20 World Cup, in which they will face Venezuela this weekend.

From an Arsenal perspective, however, it is most intriguing how he will be utilised next season. Any suggestion of him going out on loan, at least in the first half of the campaign, appears to have been scotched by Wenger’s suggestion that the prospect will become increasingly involved with the first-team.

The Europa League would certainly provide Maitland-Niles with a useful environment in which to gain further experience of senior football and the prospect will be determined to repay Wenger’s faith in him.

Quite how he fits into Arsenal’s new formation, should it be persisted with, remains to be seen, but the most likely option would be for him to be deployed as a central-midfielder, where he can contribute both going forwards and defensively.

There is also an intriguing possibility of Maitland-Niles playing as a right wing-back. Although he hasn’t previously played in that position, the presumption is that he would be able to thrive there given his qualities and if such a scenario unfolds then it would provide Arsenal with another useful option in that area of the pitch.

Wherever he plays, though, Maitland-Niles will be determined to continue developing and making an impact. He has a genuine opportunity to succeed at Arsenal and it is now up to him to seize it.

Jeorge Bird is the author of Follow him on Twitter @jeorgebird


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28 Comments on "Maitland-Niles making an impact for both club and country"

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not so fed up

Looking forward to seeing more of him for Arsenal… still in party mood following the FA cup victory ole ole ole ole ole ole ole ole ole ole ole ole ole ole ole ole ole ole ole

Vin Unleaded

He did his bit getting us to the final with an outstanding performance away at Southampton.

Mein Bergkampf

Can our league cup team please also be our Europa team, especially away from home? Jenkinson el capitan, the Jeff number 10 and Crowley, Bielik and Maitland in the triangle. Heaven.


Love Jenkinson, but he won’t be here next year.

Spanish Gooner

I confess I’m a little bit excited about our Europa league campaign (provided it’s a one off) because I’m looking forward to seeing our talented youngsters giving me an opportunity to drink in cheap places ??

Vin Unleaded

I don’t get to many away games due to work and other commitments (go to all home games as an ST holder as it is) but I will definitely be making a couple of cheeky European trips next Season ???


I feel it gives us more of a chance at European success, maybe we might even win it, a trophy is always good and might give the team more confidence when we’re back in the champions league

Heavenly Chapecoense

Or win it as an additional chance to qualify for CL.


Could well have a bigger part to play next season with the likely departure of Jenkinson and Debuchy. Could play back up to Hector & the Ox at RB/RWB and play CM in the cup campaigns potentially

Heavenly Chapecoense

Want him to develop so much that we can tell Bellerin to go to Barcelona if he wants to.

Harish P

He’s the youth player I’m most excited about seeing, happy to hear he’s progressing as well with the Young Lions! He’s so incredibly composed, it’s satisfying to watch.


Frankly I prefer him to Elneny.

He is very composed. Elneny is weak.

Heavenly Chapecoense

When El Neny plays for Egypt, he looks a great player who is quite offensive and scores great goals. Hope Wenger doesn’t do a Perez out of him.

Lord Bendnter

Such articles make me happy 🙂


Ainsley Maitland-Niles looks like the real deal – cool and composed. Excited whenever I had seen him play. I think training with the first team next season is a priority. Arsenal getting rid of dead wood would free up a place for him. Good luck in the final kid!


I want him to succeed just because of his name.

Kampala gooner

He shares his name with my son. So I’m in his corner all the way. That composure he shows in possession is so reassuring.


I really really like this kid. I can see him playing in the center of midfield but I think his break through will be as a right wing back. If Ox and Bellerin are injured or one leaves (I hope they one doesn’t) then I can see this guy being the understudy.
I think his break through, when it comes, will be as rapid as Bellerin’s

Clive St Helmet

How much has he actually played though? I thought he was on the periphery of the squad.

Apparently a 19 year old Venezuelan striker, Sergio Cordova has been tearing it up in this tournament. 6″3′, strong and has some skills. Here’s a goal he scored assist Mexico:

Andy Mc

He played all the semi because, I think, a Spurs player had picked up a harsh red card in the quarter. Other than that he has been a sub but has done well when called on.

It will be a great experience for him.

Clive St Helmet

So I’m downvoted for pointing out that he’s not in the first 11? Weird.

Heavenly Chapecoense

So I downvoted you for complaining about downvotes.

Clive St Helmet

1. Fair enough.
2. Not complaining, just commenting on the mentality.

I find it strange how fervid some people are towards some players and not others. I could say the same for Oxlade-Chamberlain for England today and not get the same reaction. It’s odd.


How old is he? Seems relevant…

Andy Mc

Turns 20 this summer.

uncle D

Good to see the academy system working, looking forward to more talents competing. One day hopefully we can be as good as Barcelona in that department!


Barcelona haven’t had as many big hits in the last few years. They had a golden generation like United. But their last best talent was probably Alcantara who plays in Bayern. Even Fab is late 20’s now.


Expecting much more game time for him down to the fact we have EL football next season instead of CL which gives AW the opportunity to throw in some youngsters from time to time. Was dissapointed tbh that the jeff didnt get so much time either last season, looking forward to see them on the pitch. Every minute counts!