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Arsenal loanee says he's 'developing a lot quicker' now than he did under Mikel Arteta

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Arsenal loanee Ainsley Maitland-Niles has boldly claimed that his development at West Bromwich Albion has been a lot quicker than what it was at the Emirates under Mikel Arteta.

The versatile Englishman left us on loan on transfer deadline day in January. Arteta wanted him to go to a club where he would play as a wing-back, but Maitland-Niles was completely against that.

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A number of clubs were interested in his services but his main demand of regular game time in central midfield pushed away almost all the sides. West Brom boss Sam Allardyce was the only one ready to play him in the middle of the park and he agreed to join them.

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After a couple of months of playing where he wants, Maitland-Niles has come out and revealed how happy he is. He claims that he is loving life under Sam Allardyce – a manager who saw his quality and agreed to play him in central midfield, unlike Arteta.

He told Birmingham Live: “I think I’m developing a lot quicker here because you’re consistently improving your game and fighting to be the best, even when the odds are against you. First and foremost, it’s just great to be here playing games and earning the trust of the manager.

“The gaffer is very honest and will tell you anything you need to hear. He’s straight to the point with how he feels. He only says these things because he cares and it’s a help to us all. I love the direct approach he has.

“Every manager is different and they may see different qualities in other players. This was a chance to show that I’m capable in that midfield role rather than sitting on the bench all season (at Arsenal under Arteta).” 

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The Insider’s View:

This is the second time Maitland-Niles is having a subtle dig at Arteta.

The Arsenal boss did not see him in the middle of the park and that clearly has not gone down well. The Englishman is on a mission to prove to the world that that he is a central midfielder, but sadly, it is Arteta who has been proved right so far.

Maitland-Niles’ performances in central midfield have mostly been poor for West Brom. He has moments in games where it looks like he would be brilliant, but he really does lack the passing, physicality and the decision-making skills to thrive in that position.

Still only 23 years old, Maitland-Niles has a lot of time to prove everyone wrong and thrive in central midfield. However, he will have to do a lot more than what he has done so far to convince Arteta to keep hold of him beyond the end of this summer’s transfer window.

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