Maitland-Niles addresses Arsenal future after summer transfer plea

2 months ago

The England international says he is now fully focused on earning regular game time at Emirates Stadium after previously pushing for the exits.

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Ainsley Maitland-Niles insists any thoughts of pushing for an exit at Arsenal are now “in the past”, with the versatile midfielder focused on the future after previously stating a desire to move on.

Having spent the second half of last season on loan at West Brom, the 24-year-old said in an Instagram post during the summer transfer window: “All I wanna do is go where I’m wanted and where I’m gonna play.”

The Gunners refused to sanction a switch, amid links to the likes of Everton, and Maitland-Niles has knuckled down in north London and played his way into contention for 10 appearances in 2021-22.

After being included in Mikel Arteta’s starting XI for a 1-0 win over Watford, Maitland-Niles has told reporters on his transfer plans: “That’s all in the past now.

“I am just thinking about the future and what’s ahead of me. It was great to be out there today, getting my minutes, and hopefully there is more to come.

“Yeah [I’m] always happy to be on the pitch and play, it’s a good feeling. Of course I’m looking for more minutes, I just need to keep my head down and keep going and working hard.”

The bigger picture

Maitland-Niles is a product of Arsenal’s famed academy system, having first joined the club at the age of six.

He made a senior debut for the Gunners as a 17-year-old in December 2014 and is now up to 131 appearances for the Premier League heavyweights.

Five caps have been earned with England, as his ability to play in various positions is put to good use, but Maitland-Niles is eager to put down roots at one club and in one set role.

He sees himself as a central midfielder, but faces fierce competition for places in the engine room at Emirates Stadium and only got the nod against Watford due to an untimely injury suffered by Thomas Partey.

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