Ainsley Maitland-Niles is an English midfielder who plays for Arsenal and the England national team.
Mainly playing as a central midfielder or right-back, Ainsley can also be used as a left wing-back. He is a product of the Gunners’ academy having joined the club at the age of six.
The player made the step up to the club’s Under-21s during the 2013–14 term, having broken into the Under-18 set up the campaign before.
He netted his first professional deal with Arsenal on 24 October 2014.
Two months later, he made his professional debut at the age of 17 years and 102 days in a UCL match against Galatasaray.
In doing so the Englishman became the second-youngest player to have represented the London outfit in the UEFA Champions League, behind Jack Wilshere.
The versatile player made his Premier League debut in a 4–1 win over Newcastle United.
In the summer of 2015, Maitland-Niles joined Ipswich Town on a season-long loan for the 2015–16 term.
Since making his Tractor Boys debut, Maitland-Niles’ showings immediately made an impression and was praised by head coach Mick McCarthy, describing the ace as “outstanding”.
Later in the campaign, however, Maitland-Niles’ senior team opportunities was soon limited, because of injuries and competitions, leading Ainsley to play for the reserve side.
After making 32 appearances and scoring two times across all competitions, Maitland-Niles returned to Arsenal.
in August 2018, in Unai Emery’s first match as head coach, Ainsley started at left-back. However, he’d be subbed off 35 minutes into the game after suffering a broken leg.
After the star’s return from his leg break and a campaign-ending injury for Hector Bellerin, the youngster established himself as the Spanish tactician’s starting right-back for the remainder of the term.
With Hector still working his way back from injury, Ainsley kept his place as the team’s starting right-back for the opening matches of the 2019–20 PL.
He has struggled to secure a spot in Mikel Arteta’s senior team, with interest coming from Southampton and West Brom to sign on loan.
On 1 February 2021, he joined fellow the Baggies on a loan deal until the end of the season.
What style of play does Maitland-Niles has?
He is known for his versatility, with his energy and pace, he can play as a wide attacker, wing-back, full-back, and central midfielder.
Legendary manager Arsene Wenger once praised his former player as “a good defender”, mentioning that “he has that sense of one against one” and “has very quick recovery runs.”