Ainsley Maitland-Niles wants to become Arsenal’s first-choice winger

Since breaking through under Arsene Wenger, the 21-year-old has been remodelled as a wing-back

Friday 11 January 2019 14:36
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Arsenal starlet Ainsley Maitland-Niles believes he can become Arsenal’s first-choice winger amid rumours the club are pursuing loan moves for Barcelona’s Denis Suarez and Dalian Yifangs’s Yannick Carrasco.

Arsenal manage Unai Emery confirmed yesterday that the club will not be able to make any permanent signings during the January window but is still interested in potential loan moves.

Denis Suarez has been offered to Arsenal by Barcelona but the Catalans are believed to be seeking a permanent deal for the 25-year-old.

Maitland-Niles broke into the first team under Arsene Wenger but has since seen his progress somewhat stall due to injury and has only made six Premier League appearances so far this season.

“I’d like to be a winger,” Maitland-Niles told Sky Sports. “I feel comfortable there and I’ve been playing there this season.

“I was a striker growing up. Thierry Henry was the perfect role model at the time. Then everybody started growing but I was still a bit short. As I was still quick, direct and could run at players they thought they would put me on the wing. So up until the age of 16 I was a winger.”

The academy graduate has been remodelled as a wing-back since his breakthrough but believes his long-term future at the club lies further up the pitch after scoring his first goal against Liverpool a fortnight ago, but understands he will have to be patient for the opportunity.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles scored his first goal for Arsenal against Liverpool 

“I like to think of myself as a winger at 25 years old, starting every week for Arsenal, scoring and assisting goals. I don’t feel like I’m there. I’m still young and I have a lot of learning to do.

“Even if I was playing week-in, week-out I wouldn’t say I was there because the learning stage I am at now, I still have so much more to give to the game.

“Once I get there where I can’t give any more, then I’d say I’m there.”

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