Arsenal youngster Ainsley Maitland Niles broke into the team on a regular basis last season under Arsene Wenger, making 28 appearances in a variety of positions and has been rewarded with a new deal and a new shirt number.
Though Arsenal did not confirm the length of the extension,Ainsley Maitland Niles is believed to have extended his terms with the club for five years. New manager Unai Emery expressed his desire to further develop Ainsley Maitland Niles during his job interview and the Spaniard has already spoken to his young prospect about what will come next.
New season, new contract, new number.
— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) June 12, 2018
The versatile Gunner, 20, has been at the club since he was just nine-years-old. Ainsley Maitland Niles made his Arsenal debut in 2014 aged 17, and has gone on to make 38 appearances for the first team to date.
The England youth international established himself as an important member of the Gunners squad last season, excelling in a variety of positions including wing-back on both flanks and in his more natural midfield role.
On top of that, the star has captained his country, England, at Under-20s level – and was part the squad that won the Under-20 World Cup last summer. Ainsley Maitland Niles will also switch from the No.30 to No.15, last worn by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain before his switch to Liverpool.
The 20-year-old also made 30 appearances for Ipswich Town during a season-long loan spell with the Championship side in 2015-16 and had won Ipswich’s Player of the Month award.
This is what Ainsley Maitland-Niles had to say on Unai Emery’s confidence in him :
“You don’t really hear a lot of young players being shouted out by their managers, especially a new manager who hasn’t really seen them play too much.”’
Maitland-Niles told Arsenal Player.
He’s a very versatile player, with age on his side. He has come through Arsenal’s Youth Academy and thus portrays the essence of the club giving chances to their youngsters and this in turn can attract other youngsters to join the club, like recently we have seen with Joel Lopez rejecting La Masia’s new contract in favor of joining London Coloney(Arsenal’s Training Ground) to continue with his career.
“I think it’s brilliant to hear from him and it gives me a load of confidence”
.“It feels fantastic knowing that I’m going to be a part of the squad, and a big part of the squad. It means a lot with the new head coach coming in and Arsenal tying me down. I’m very pleased.”
“[Emery and I] had a little meeting. He said that he wants all of his players to work hard and I’m no stranger to doing that. It will be second nature to me.”
“I think [the high-pressing game] suits me a lot, too. I’ve got a lot of pace to give to the team, pressing up high and winning the ball back as soon as possible is a major factor in football.”
The contract extension of Ainsley Maitland Niles signifies that the club’s tradition and values haven’t changed, and Arsene Wenger’s policy of giving important role to young players is still propagated throughout the club.
He has steadily progressed to become a more mature and complete player after each season and that is in huge part to the confidence shown in him by the legendary Arsene Wenger. It is very exciting to see a player of such potential to play for our club and specially when having risen through the academy.
— afcstuff (@afcstuff) June 12, 2018
He has been willing to play anywhere on the pitch, this shows that he is willing to adapt to his boss’s instructions. It will be interesting to see how and where Emery utilizes Ainsley Maitland Niles in his new team and how much given this number change.
Exciting times ahead and hopefully he can follow in the footsteps of his predecessors like Ray Parlour or Cesc Fabregas and not Denilson or the Ox.