Arsene Wenger has summed up how he felt about Ainsley Maitland-Niles’ performance after starting the youngster in midfield (via Arsenal.com).
It’s something which many Arsenal fans have been calling out for and on Thursday night, we finally got a chance to see Ainsley Maitland-Niles in midfield.
The 20-year-old started ahead of Granit Xhaka in the 3-0 Europa League win over Östersunds FK and put in a decent performance.
Now, Arsene Wenger has given his thoughts on the Englishman’s performance after spending so much time playing at left wing-back for the Gunners.
“It’s his natural position,” Wenger said after the match.
“I think 80 percent of his game was good, and I feel he can win the ball back well.
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“Defensively he’s quite strong, he’s got good acceleration and it’s a positive game for a first run.”
It was pleasing to see the youngster in his preferred central midfield role. Playing someone out wide is something which Arsene Wenger has often done to his central players like Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere and Calum Chambers. It’s too early to see if it has benefitted Ainsley Maitland-Niles but he has the attributes to be a fine central midfielder.