Ainsley Maitland-Niles is currently making a great impression on loan at Ipswich Town.
In fact, boss Mick McCarthy has been singing the 17-year-old’s praises.
The midfielder has already appeared three times for the Championship side and earned an assist in the recent game against Burnley.
Before embarking on his season-long loan, the youngster played 34 times for our u21 team over the last two years. This isn’t bad, considering how young he is and the regular playing time at Ipswich will only improve him further.
“Wow. The talent of him; I think he’s going to play for Arsenal, there’s no doubt in my mind,” McCarthy said. “We are just so lucky to have him.”
The Ipswich manager continued, “Nobody knew anything about him. I watched him play against Reading for [Arsenal’s] under-21s last season and I thought he was great. I enquired about him in January, but they needed him for their Champions League squad.”
“He’s such a lovely kid and all, he’s fitted in perfectly. What’s nice for him is we’ve got Josh Emmanuel, Myles Kenlock, Adam McDonnell and Teddy Bishop, they’re his age and peers.
“I had the conversation with him ‘I know you can play, but if you don’t run around and don’t put a shift in you won’t play’ but he’s a workaholic.”
A lot of the time, loaning out players isn’t just about getting the playing time itself but getting competitive minutes on the pitch. Playing against men who are older, bigger, stronger and more experienced is the best way of readying young footballers.
It appears Maitland-Niles is relishing the challenging and thriving in his new team. The fact that McCarthy has so much faith in the lad at such an early stage is very telling.