Arsenal has a decision to make with Ainsley Maitland-Niles, but if he does stay, these three areas need some improvement to help him step up.
A lot of attention is being paid to Matteo Guendouzi and his rapid fall from grace at Arsenal under Mikel Arteta. He went from being a regular with Unai Emery and playing regularly in the starting XI to being driven into the peripherals following noted fallouts in training with the manager himself.
Never a good way to get ahead, but Arteta is certainly taking a hard line on discipline and the latest balloon incident won’t help him. It’s all been a rapid fall from grace for such a young man of exceptional talent, but it’s also taking the attention away from another fall from grace—Ainsley Maitland-Niles.
Maitland-Niles is another guy who was a favorite under Emery, but one has to assume that since Arteta has phased him out, that there are disciplinary issues there, somewhere. Because we know the talent is still there. Yet when the choice came for a rightback, Arteta would choose Sokratis over Maitland-Niles.
If Arsenal keeps Ainsley Maitland-Niles, here are three things he can improve
Maitland-Niles had his fair share of off-the-pitch issues under Arsene Wenger, but those were mostly related to familial issues. So what’s happening now is anyone’s guess. But it’s looking more and more likely that he will be sold in the coming transfer window, whenever that comes.
That said, if he does stay, he has to make some improvements to move on to the next level of his career and it doesn’t just have to do with playing out of position. Although that certainly isn’t helping.
So, if he does stay, here are those most needed improvements.
Maybe this is bad to say, but if Maitland-Niles is going to stay, he has to be okay with playing rightback and right wingback. It may not be his position, but the fact of the matter is he’s actually quite good at it and it lets him flourish as a young player.
It may not be the easiest step to make, but that should be good enough—he’s playing regularly, he’s growing in his talent, he’s getting better and better. But he has to want to do it for the good of the team.
On to No. 2.