Graeme Souness had a go at Ainsley Maitland-Niles’ lack of consistency after the midfielder’s performance for West Brom against Manchester United on Sunday.
The versatile Englishman was desperate for regular game time last month. He forced his way out on loan to West Bromwich Albion and after a disappointing debut display against Spurs, he showed signs of improvement against United.
Souness believes that this lack of consistency is the reason why he couldn’t make himself a regular at Arsenal. He claims that a player has to put in a 7/10 performance every single game to succeed at a top club in the Premier League, and sadly, Maitland-Niles hasn’t done that.
He said on Sky Sports during their coverage of the game: “Yes, he’s got talent. But if you want to play in the Premier League, especially for one of the big teams, you have to be consistent. The word consistency is what it’s all about.
“You have to turn up and put in a seven every week. It’s no good having a great game and then a very disappointing game.
“That’s why he’s not at Arsenal, right now. We are not talking about an Arsenal team that are tearing walls down. This is an Arsenal team that are huffing and puffing.”
Arsenal Insider’s view:
Maitland-Niles played much better against United than he did against Spurs. However, there is still a lot to improve, especially if he wants to fulfil his dream of succeeding in central midfield.
Things aren’t looking great for West Brom or Maitland-Niles. The former, despite their draw on Sunday, are favourites to go down, while the Englishman’s hopes of making it into the Euros squad is slowly slipping away.
Maitland-Niles, at this stage, is better off accepting that he is a full-back. Mikel Arteta sees his future there and so do most people who have kept a close eye on him.
He has a little over three months to change everyone’s mind and if he cannot, he will have to change his own stance to have a successful career at the top level.