Wenger considers possibility of Maitland-Niles in midfield

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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.”

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Chippa
Chippa

We could use him better as left back on a back 4, if we could field a left midfielder who can hug the touchline. That way AMN could get forward into midfield knowing left flank is covered thus making more use of his abilities. Just my opinion

Man Manny
Man Manny

Not a very good opinion, might expose us defensively

Drew Dewsall

AMN has the potential to be a world-beater. I can’t recall seeing a young lad who has such composure on the ball since a certain tall French bloke. He looks like he has the mentality to take on anything. Good luck to him, we have an incredible crop of youngsters at the moment.

Faisal Narrage
Faisal Narrage

Bloody hell, talk about expectations. Let’s just let the boy be.
Wasn’t so long ago “The Jeff” was being associated with that level of expectations, and look at where is he now (seriously, where is he now?)

Heavenly Chapecoense
Heavenly Chapecoense

I can confirm he is nowhere around the pitch during games.

Mpls
Mpls

Recurrence of the ankle injury that ended last season for him. Rumored to be near returning to training.

caligunner
caligunner

I thought he has already been part of matchday roster?

Mpls
Mpls

Might have been very recently. The news I saw was a couple weeks old

Simon
Simon

I had been slightly blinded by Nketiah and Nelson that I hadn’t paid much attention to AMN. But I can see now that frankly he is immense, so much composure, and the way he toyed with Chelsea defenders when he had the ball was amazing, the kind of thing Christiano Ronaldo would do.
But he would be be perfect playing in defensive midfield, his pace and stamina would mean he can provide adequate cover for the back line. He could be like Kante but with the added benefit of being insanely skilled going forward. And he doesn’t lose the ball all the time like a certain Swiss man we know.

Trez
Trez

Same here. I never paid too much attention to him and was almost shocked (I know) at how calm and composed he is on the ball. Seeing him play makes me more eager to see Bielik play as well.

Faisal Narrage
Faisal Narrage

Gosh, like Kante but with Ronaldo tekkers.
Maybe he’s turning the opponents half time water into wine whilst he’s at it.

Always Arsenal
Always Arsenal

Like the look of Josh Da Silva. Would be good to see him out there too.

sweetsciencen5
sweetsciencen5

J Da Silva looked composed and calm on the ball when I saw him, just like Maitland-Niles is.
One to keep an eye on.

Reiss Nelson I would like to see given a game in central midfield if Maitland-Niles plays at left back.

QMantis
QMantis

Make it happen wenger we all wanna see how he does in midfield . surly you can squeeze some one else into the LB spot. AMN is one of the few bright sparks to shine along with Jack. Try him for a half at least, probably won’t be to many chances left to do this as the pressure builds.

Yagaru
Yagaru

Inspired

karl
karl

The midfield desperately needs someone like him to stop the leakage. He is also strong on the ball and distributes well.

SB Still
SB Still

Our midfield is in a desperate need of a challenger for Xhaka.

AMN may not yet have the experience to be the challenger but is certainly good enough to be an understudy.

At least the problems at LB is temp as we on paper have Monreal and Kolasinac as experienced options. If Wenger doesn’t see it that way, then it’s probably the right time to look for external solutions (along with other positions).

bobbyp
bobbyp

Hooray!

ronaldo
ronaldo

isn,t that where he is supposed to play…

allezkev
allezkev

I’d like to see AMN play c/m tomorrow, but I’d imagine that Wenger will use Coquelin and Elneny in front of a back-four. AMN’s time will come and when it does he’ll be a sensation, but let’s get past Forest first.

Faisal Narrage
Faisal Narrage

Hopefully we use q back 4 tomorrow, as it gives Nelson a chance as a no.10 or RW, and not a RWB, which he is not.

Ozenal
Ozenal

Cohen Bramall?

caligunner
caligunner

I would rather have Bramall on the Sr roster then having 4 goalies

sweetsciencen5
sweetsciencen5

He is on loan.

Mark
Mark

As long as he is on the pitch that is most important right now. Would be nice to see him getting some games in center mid, but we also have Willock there as a young player and when Ramsey returns have the three headed monster of Ramsey – Wilshere – Xhaka that Wenger has to figure out.

santori
santori

Why not?

He has shown great quality and discipline. Try him out.

santori
santori

AMN seems to have the best attributes thus far in graft and discipline.

Willock is potential too and we haven’t seen much of Reinne-Adelaide.

But midfield requires experience knowing when to push forward and when to exercise caution, track players running into our box.

We have yet to develop this balance even with our more experience players.

Lawal Rasheed
Lawal Rasheed

I think he has shown to us all he deserves the central role with his performance at left back. It high time he Start flourishing in his preferred natural position .

Joel+Carter
Joel+Carter

What do people think of a midfield diamond going forward? Maitland-Niles at the base, Ramsey on the right, Wilshere on the left, and Ozil at the tip.