Maitland-Niles: Words can’t describe how I feel


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 “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.

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43 Comments on "Maitland-Niles: Words can’t describe how I feel"

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he was good yesterday and
being young and constantly played out of position it shows how much potential and talent that young lad has. but the manager should play him in his position.


He was good, yes, but how can it be the ‘best feeling’ when we just threw 2 points. Yes it was his debut, but imagine a young Tony Adams saying that on his debut. No, right? We have to have higher ambitions throughout the club. Mediocrity is sneaking in on us.


Tony Adams has said this on his book about his debut – He was so terrified that he put his shorts back on front and was literally shaking for an hour after the match. He in fact made a mistake within 3 minutes that cost the team a goal. Let’s cut the young man some slack, it was after all his big day and he didn’t do bad.

David C

What is his best position? He looked very steady yesterday on the left as well.


He’s played on the right back and on the wing, and he’s right footed, but he actually plays a lot of deep midfield for the young squads.

Andy Mack

Originally he played on the wing and has gradually moved back to FB/DM. His preferred position is CDM but being such a pivotal position it’s difficult to blood young players there in the senior squad. So playing him as FB is the best option to give him experience at the top level.
Although he’d done well as LB, I feel he’s a little stronger as RB.


Put yourself in his shoes, being picked for the first team for the very first time in a league game ,of course the lad felt great about it on a PERSONAL level which was what he was talking about ! He did say he was disappointed not to get the win which again is only right but it was hardly down to him that we didn’t! He is constantly being played out of position and doing well, personally I think in midfield with his pace and good feet he could do a job there for us even more impressively, he’s quite strong and will get stronger he needs encouragement not dissing for the teams problems!


I think Wenger is spot in playing him out wide.

Best place for a youngster to learn his trade as he’ll get allot more time on the ball there. Also means he won’t get caught in a central midfield battle with an older more experienced player as that could destroy a young players confidence if it doesn’t go well.


I understand your argument but the kid is good and highly rated so why dithering with him ? Is it the same Wenger who played Cesc Fabregas at 17 ? a teenage Wilshere at the Camp nou ? etc… It says more about the manager losing what was once his trademark and strenghts and about the club ‘s obscure sporting policy. We seem to have a good bunch of exciting youngsters in Niles, Willock, the Jeff, Nelson and I range Iwobi in that category and we should give them more PL time .They could do well and the way the club is heading lets’ no lie to ourselves we are not a big club anymore which can attract the biggest stars of the game. And the board would not splash the necessary funds to compete transfer and salary wise. We are looking at Monaco or Dortmund level and economic models. Nurture talents , grab the odd cup, expect an exceptional season from time to time and cash on the talents . But instead of the failed project youth where almost the first starting eleven were kids , keep some experienced senior players around to foster them. My team for the years ahead would be Cech – Kolasinac-Holding-Chambers-Bellerin – Niles Xhaka-Wilshere-Ramsey-Iwobi Nelson Lacazette.

Andy Mack

Certain positions are usually more decisive during a game.
Cesc playing in an attacking position and having a bad game was less likely to allow the opposition to score than having a young player in defence have a poor game.
CBs and DM seem to be positions where experience is beneficial. But the youngsters that play as CBs and DM can gain a certain amount of the necessary experience in less pivotal positions.


The best way for any “apprentice ” to learn his trade is to DO the job ! If he is a midfielder he won’t learn his craft playing as a full back! I don’t seem to recall Merson, Thomas, Charley George, Davis , or Brady playing in defence ! You don’t teach a kid to be a carpenter by getting him to lay bricks!


No but a chippy who can fix a leaky tap or spur a new socket is double handy!

John C

I don’t remember Vieira or Fabregas playing out wide either.

Playing youngsters out of position is a way for the manager to shoehorn them in the side despite them not being good enough.

He looked alright but nothing to suggest he’s a top quality player.

Like the other youngsters that have played in the Europa he looks and plays like Iwobi, good at retaining possession going sideways or backwards but any forward pass in the final third is misplaced. And as for defending, i don’t think any of them really has a clue.

I don’t watch the academy teams but it wouldn’t surprise me if they played the same sterile possession based crap we saw last night


Well you should really take a look at the under 18 group. They play exciting, good on the eye and most importantly team football. Oh yeah they score a lot as well. Check youtube.

Wretched Powling

Thomas played quite a few games at right back actually


Was about to say same. Thomas started at rb. U dear graham.

Andy Mack

Why would you use a list of attacking players to justify not giving a defensive player game time as a FB?


He should have told Arnautović to fuck off, yesterday.


Beauty of the situation was he did nothing after evidently winding Arnautovic up. Totally stonewalled him – that pissed him off more.

Good lad.

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Didn’t have to, just stared him down. Also, who’s going to mess with AMN when he has his mum (barred form both the Arsenal and Ipswich training grounds) as back up?


Kudos to Xhaka for going to his aid straight off I hope he told Arnoutavic to reign his neck in or get it wrung !


Well done Ainsley, a solid full debut, with many more appearances to come, hopefully in midfield.
Did enough imo to retain his place, hope he plays on Saturday vs Newcastle.


A shining light who hopefully gets a chance to play in his best position.


He was one of the bright spots last night. Bearing in mind it’s not his natural position, I was really impressed. Hope we see more of him.

SB Still

Agree with that. Hopefully he gets the chance in the middle in the Cup games.

Our situation in the middle as in Xhaka’s position can do with some genuine competition and AMN could be the understudy.


Didn’t see the game last night (thank god) but doesn’t he have most of the attributes everyone is crying out for a cdm? I am believe he could compliment Xhaka very well. Sure he is young but Cesc,Wilshere, Ramsey were even younger when they broke into the first team. also AMN is fucking quick.
If you calculate for a young cb like Holding to make mistakes, why not try it out a bit further up the pitch? Willock next in line. Play them with the first team, not the B-Team


I was happy with Iwobi, Jack and Maitland Niles yesterday. Disappointed with Bellerin but perhaps we ask too much of Hector and maybe he needs real competition at RB.
I really miss Lauren sometimes. We need a bastard on the right. We actually need a couple of bastards in defence. I miss Sol, Lauren, Jens and Viera.


Looks like Iwobi might be developing into one. He constantly is trying to out muscle people especially when he’s trying to pull a ball from them. I like both Ainsley and Iwobi they are the future.

Arturo Lupoli


Lord Bendnter

Good lad, i like him. Mature head


I remember how much he caught my eye at Southampton away in the FA cup last year. Played at CDM an ran the show. Hope to see him get a couple of outings in his natural position this season.

Looks and acts like a lad with a mature head on his shoulders. Shame he’ll have to make way for Kolasinac at the weekend – or will he…?


Always intrigued by the ‘express myself’ choice of words at Arsenal. It seems to me to be at the root of Wenger’s management philosophy and. For a young player to say that the older players use this turn of phrase speaks volumes about the culture at the club.

Hoping that AMN gets a loan with a manager with more specific ideas and who will use him centrally (or we get a new manager next season who sees to his development).


I rate Maitland-Niles and certainly hope he can go far with us. Now that the Ox isn’t with Arsenal anymore, Ainsley can continue the double-barrelled surname tradition.

John Noshi

That moment when he stared at the hollow depth of that bully of Arnautovic last game. Oh how beautiful it was..


Along with Ainsley I’d like to see Eddie and Nelson get first team starts I think Eddie could prove to be that rare thing an instinctive goal scorer and Nelson is a rare talent in the making if their good enough their old enough! They could do no worse than some of the established players right now


His one of the reasons why we useless.


Because of players like him, wilshere giroud xhaka and cech. Everybody had upgraded and moved to thr next level but not arsenal. Every good company appoints a new ceo every 5 years. Wenger our and lets freshen up


I thought he gave a good account of himself.

He was the only one trying to find Giroud directly to his head

He’s grabbed his chance…


Maitland niles should play at RB instead of hector on saturday. Hector needs competition to improve. Kozzer needs a break…..hope musta is fit to play on Sat..sanchez and xaka need a break too…for me on sat i wanna see some change:

Cech…calum musta holding…niles elneny wilshire kolas…walcott lakaz ozil.

I know it wont happen but im just tired to see players not performing well but still play the next match.
I know walcott is not everyone favourite but lets give him a start. Who knows, maybe that will motivate him and he’ll banged some goals in the next few games like he used to do.


he,s ok, but cant see him making it at arsenal, I don’t think he is up to our standards, championship player at best


Good lad, consistent, seems to be level headed and for a young guy quite disciplined


Would love to see him and jack in centre midfield together


He was motm for me on the night, too. Only one of our players that seemed interested in making a run behind the defense.