Arsenal midfielder Ainsley Maitland-Niles was given the captain’s armband on his debut for the England u21 side against Andorra.
The 20-year-old made his first appearance for the u21 age group during their 1-0 win over Andorra on Tuesday. He was the sole Arsenal representative in the u21 squad and played in central midfield for Aidy Boothroyd’s side.
His midfield partner, Everton’s Tom Davies, scored the only goal of the game. Maitland-Niles even wore the captain’s armband on the day, which could foreshadow more appearances in the future in my opinion.
It’s not the first game the Arsenal man has captained for an England youth team, as he wore the armband briefly during the u20 World Cup in the summer. Much of the current u21 squad were a part of that successful u20 group, who made history in South Korea.
England had a notoriously poor record at that level, but overcame the odds to win the trophy in what turned out to be a highly successful summer for the nation’s youth teams.
While Maitland-Niles has featured predominantly as a midfielder for England, his current involvement with the first team Arsenal squad has seen him play as a wing-back.
Currently, he appears to the back-up for Sead Kolasinac at left wing-back, and has played there whenever Arsenal have rotated for the Carabao Cup and the Europa League. He’s set for more first-team appearances as Arsenal play Norwich and Red Star Belgrade this month.