Ainsley Maitland-Niles has laid down a challenge for Hector Bellerin as he continues his injury recuperation (via football.london).
News broke on social media last week that Hector Bellerin is back walking after his season-ending cruciate knee ligament injury but Arsenal are coping fairly well without the Spaniard on the pitch.
After a shaky start, Ainsley Maitland-Niles has stepped up and is now performing well in Bellerin’s absence.
Now, the Englishman has claimed that he wants to make Bellerin fight for his place in the team when the Spaniard returns to the pitch later this year.
“I’m still adapting to [the position] but the manager and coaching staff are helping me a lot at the moment,” Maitland-Niles told football.london.
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“My best qualities are going forward, creating. I’ve spoken to the manager and he seems to think the same as me.
“When Hector comes back maybe it’ll be a good challenge for me and him.
“It all depends on how he comes back. Hector is a fantastic player and I wouldn’t want to force anybody out of the team, it’s more about healthy competition with him.”
It’s an encouraging series of quotes from Ainsley Maitland-Niles. The 21-year-old started slowly but is starting to make the right-back position his own at Arsenal. It’s good to see but perhaps long-term, Maitland-Niles will be able to find a place in the Arsenal team alongside Hector Bellerin.