Matt Le Tissier thinks Arsenal fans would rather see youngsters like Reiss Nelson and Joe Willock given a chance in the league over the likes of Granit Xhaka and Mesut Özil.
Xhaka and Özil came in for a lot of criticism after the defeat to Watford last weekend, whilst Willock, Nelson and Maitland-Niles helped the team to another win in Europe, beating Red Star Belgrade 1-0 in Serbia.
Le Tissier was asked on Sky Sports whether Gunners supporters would therefore like to see the youngsters get a chance in the Premier League as well, to which he responded (via Daily Star): “100 per cent, 100 per cent.
“Because if things aren’t working properly, why do you keep putting the same people in the same position? If it’s not working, you have to try and change it.
“This is what frustrates me about the Premier League in this day and age. So many good players are going by the wayside because you’re not giving them a chance. You’ll never know until you stick those players in.
“They can do whatever they want in training, until you put them in a game situation, with a full stadium, you will never know how much they can grow as a footballer. That frustrates the hell out of me.”
In the last few days many fans have been making the same argument for Jack Wilshere getting a chance in the Premier League, after his good performances in the League Cup and in Europe. There’s no denying that Xhaka has been struggling for consistency this season, so giving him a break for an in-form Jack Wilshere seems like an obvious move.
When it comes to youngsters like Reiss Nelson, it’s a similar story, but I think most supporters are happy to be a bit more patient. After all, Reiss doesn’t turn 18 for another month and a half, and Willock has just turned 18 himself. Both players have plenty of time to build their senior experience in the other competitions, so they’ll be ready for the Premier League matches when they come.
On the other hand, Ainsley Maitland-Niles is now 20, and has played in the Premier League, FA Cup, League Cup, Champions League and Europa League for the Gunners.
There are enough European and cup games going on at the moment, but if Ainsley’s still not getting chances in the league by January then it may be better to go out on loan, because he’s at the stage where he does need chances.