Former Arsenal striker Kevin Campbell has claimed on Highbury Squad that he is confused by Mikel Arteta’s decision to leave Ainsley Maitland-Niles on the bench in the Premier League.
The 23-year-old has been a regular in Arsenal’s Europa League XI, but he has found it difficult to get into the league side. Maitland-Niles has played for just eight minutes in the Premier League since the start of October and many feel he deserves more.
The Hale End graduate was sensational last week in central midfield against Rapid Vienna. He finally got a full game in his favourite position and he picked up an assist as well to get Emile Smith Rowe on the scoresheet.
Fans hoped to see him start against Tottenham in the North London derby on Sunday, but they were left disappointed. Campbell has expressed his confusion and has labelled Arteta’s decision to leave him out as ‘crazy’.
He said: “I think the crazy one for everyone, me included, is Maitland-Niles. What’s happened to Maitland-Niles? Why can’t he even get in the team? He played brilliantly against Vienna the other day. He was excellent in the centre of the pitch.”
“We’ve seen him do a job at left-back, centre midfield and right-back. But he doesn’t even get a chance in the team. That I can’t understand.”
Should Maitland-Niles start in the Premier League?
Maitland-Niles is one of the most versatile players in the Premier League. He can play in either full-back position, on both flanks and also anywhere across central midfield.
A player like him is a dream for any manager, but Arteta has been hesitant to use him in Arsenal’s midfield in the Premier League. Thomas Partey’s return certainly ruined his chance on Sunday, but now that the Ghanaian is injured again, he could get the nod against Burnley this weekend.
The Englishman will likely start against Dundalk in the Europa League tomorrow. If he impresses again, he will give Arteta a selection headache ahead of the game at the Emirates on Sunday.