Ainsley Maitland-Niles has claimed on Arsenal’s Instagram Story that he is the fastest player at the club at the moment.
The 23-year-old Hale End graduate is arguably the most versatile player we have in the squad. He can play in both full-back positions, on either wing as well as in central midfield – not many players can do that.
Maitland-Niles has played extremely well in all of those positions. Mikel Arteta has mainly used him as a full-back, and his pace has helped him contain some of the quickest wingers in the league. But, is he really our fastest player?
The Englishman has boldly claimed that he thinks he is faster than every other Arsenal player in the squad.
He said: “Is anyone in the squad faster than me? No. I put myself at the top if I am honest. I could be wrong. Maybe Aubameyang would dispute about that. I personally think that I am the quickest in the team.”
Aubameyang will certainly dispute that. The former Dortmund man is one of the fastest players in the world, and his pace has troubled almost every defender he has ever come up against.
Nicolas Pepe is also extremely quick, as are the likes of Hector Bellerin, Bukayo Saka, Reiss Nelson, Gabriel Martinelli, Willian and young Folarin Balogun.
Maitland-Niles is fast but all of the above-mentioned players are more renowned for their pace than the versatile Englishman. However, his speed is a very important asset, and it is about time that Arteta gives him more opportunities.
The 23-year-old has started just twice in the league this season. With Thomas Partey unavailable, he could well be an option for Arteta in the middle of our park against Tottenham in the derby this weekend.