Former Arsenal defender Rhys Weston thinks Ainsley Maitland-Niles is best suited to the wing-back position, and he should look to follow in Victor Moses’ footsteps.
Maitland-Niles had a couple of really positive performances for Arsenal ahead of the current international break. First, he helped to hold Manchester United at bay with a top defensive performance. Then, he helped Arsenal score two quick goals against Stade Rennais FC to turn the Europa League tie back in the Gunners’ favour.
In two key games in the season, Maitland-Niles stepped up impressively. Rhys Weston thinks the 21-year-old needs to take advantage of a rare chance afforded by Hector Bellerin’s injury now.
“The frustrating thing is, as a young lad trying to make your way, you don’t always get given the opportunity but he’s got an opportunity now with the unfortunate circumstances with Hector Bellerin being out long-term,” said Weston (via AllNigeriaSoccer).
“I think wing-back suits him. If you asked him he’d rather play in the holding midfield position but he and Kolasinac are far better when they have got space in front of them. It’s a bit like when Victor Moses was converted to a wing-back under Conte at Chelsea, his whole game changed and the whole dynamic changed.”
Arsenal are certainly more desperate for wing-backs than midfielders right now. In the centre they have Granit Xhaka, Lucas Torreira and Matteo Guendouzi fighting for spots in the starting lineup, then Mohamed Elneny and Joe Willock as backups.
At wing-back, they’ve lost Bellerin, Stephan Lichtsteiner is struggling for form and fitness, and Carl Jenkinson still doesn’t appear to be an option for Unai Emery in the Premier League. That leaves Maitland-Niles, so hopefully, he’s up for the task.