Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta faced the media this morning ahead of his side’s clash against Manchester United on Saturday.
The Spaniard was quizzed about various topics but one of the most important ones was about the future of Ainsley Maitland-Niles.
The 23-year-old is not a happy man at the moment. He has barely had any game time in the Premier League this season.
He was given a chance against Crystal Palace recently, but a shocking performance there saw him subbed off after the hour mark, and then subsequently dropped from the squad for our next game.
Maitland-Niles hasn’t played a single minute of football since his poor display against the Eagles. That could potentially cost him a spot in the England squad for this summer’s Euros, and Arteta admitted that it is a concern.
The Gunners boss said, as per Arsenal.com: “Yes, it (lack of game time) is a concern when there is international football involved as well and the chance to reach that opportunity.”
“I understand that Ainsley wants more minutes and what he needs to do is fight, train and challenge his teammates and show us that he can be one of our starters.”
AMN isn’t doing enough, but Arteta should share the blame
Maitland-Niles’ casual attitude on the pitch looks very cool when things come off, but it’s infuriating when it doesn’t. It was mostly the latter against Crystal Palace and Arteta was not impressed.
However, the Englishman hadn’t played at left-back for almost two months before the game against the Eagles. It is not his natural position and it clearly does not suit him when we’re playing a flat back four.
Arteta is right to demand more from Maitland-Niles, but he should start playing him in his natural central midfield position. That looks like it’s not going to happen any time soon, which makes things really difficult for the 23-year-old.