It’s taken some time, but Ainsley Maitland-Niles is finally looking the part for Arsenal.
The 21-year-old Hale End product has shown sparks of becoming a first-team player in his debut season under Arsene Wenger last campaign, but now the England under-21 international looks to be one of the first names down on Unai Emery’s starting XI, and his latest outing for the Gunners only adds to this claim.
Arsenal have used the current international break to squeeze in a well-needed warm weather training camp in Dubai, with the conclusion of the five-day trip seeing the Gunners play the opening game at the newly renovated Al Maktoum Stadium.
Despite going a goal down 15 minutes in due to a Shkodran Mustafi blunder, the Gunners were able to equalise before half-time through Carl Jenkinson. Maitland-Niles was brought on at half-time and was quick to make an impact, being the driving force behind Alexandre Lacazette’s goal to put Arsenal ahead.
It was a stellar display from the young defender. He’s found minutes hard to come by at times this term, but with every minute on the field that he earns, he seems to get better and better.
It may have been an exhibition fixture, but his performance over in Dubai has got lots of Arsenal fans talking, as you can see below:
Lacazette goal, Özil assist, but Maitland-Niles is the player inspiring the team right now. Love him.
— Dan Critchlow (@afcDW) March 26, 2019
Maitland-Niles very lively since coming on. Seems full of confidence at the moment.
— Jeorge Bird (@jeorgebird) March 26, 2019
Maitland-Niles looks a different animal recently #COYG
— Jack Burns (@J_burnsy_87) March 26, 2019
Maitland niles is too sick man
— El Carte (@RizziSmoov) March 26, 2019
Ainsley Maitland-Niles is a different level of beast. Surreal acceleration
— B. (@LallyZeeez) March 26, 2019
— Swapnil (@swapgooner11) 26 March 2019
Maitland Niles Brillant so composed for his age
— AFC_HUNTER (@AFC_HUNTER) March 26, 2019
Maitland-Niles man top top player
— dan (@afcyoungboy) March 26, 2019
Arsenal went on to win 3-2 with youth product Tyreece John-Jules scoring the vital third goal to seal the win for the Gunners.
Arsenal fans – what are you expecting to see from Maitland-Niles going forward? Let us know below!
Click here to comment on this articleor
Give us feedback on your Football Transfer Tavern experience