Ainsley Maitland-Niles has explained why he seems so calm when he plays, even though he gets nervous just like everyone else.
Maitland-Niles has looked good in the first team despite playing out of position.
His composure on the ball and the way he’s handled high-intensity games against Liverpool and Chelsea have been highly impressive.
The 20-year-old has explained he’s just playing his natural game, and gets nervous just like other players do.
“That’s just how I play,” he told Arsenal Player.
“I know people think, ‘Oh he looks too relaxed, he looks like this or that’, but it’s just me as a person.
“It is quite odd for a youngster, but the team make me feel more comfortable.
“They have trust in me and they will give me the ball when I need to be given the ball. It’s just the team who have helped me settle by working together and I think I’ve earned their trust.
“Of course I get nervous before the game too but, I think everyone has those little butterflies in their stomach. You’re playing against world-class players every week, so you’re bound to be nervous at some point in the day.
“I think my dad’s influence helped too.
“He’s a very relaxed person who likes to use his brain a lot without talking.
“If he can’t fix the situation then of course he’ll speak about it and try to solve it with other people. I’m like that too.”
That he’s adjusted so well to consistent first team football is what has Arsenal fans so excited about him.
He’s displayed more composure on the ball than some of the more experienced members of the squad.
Maitland-Niles came into the team when Sead Kolasinac was rested during the busy winter period.
His performances have been so steady that people would like to see him replace Granit Xhaka in midfield.
Arsene Wenger does see his future there, but requires him to play full-back for the time being especially while both Monreal and Kolasinac are out injured.
Given his composure, Wenger could put Maitland-Niles anywhere and he’d probably perform well.
Maitland-Niles has made 15 appearances for the Arsenal first team this season.