Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang says the whole club was proud to see Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Bukayo Saka making their England debuts recently.
Both Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Bukayo Saka made their first appearances for the England senior national team over the last couple of international breaks. Maitland-Niles was first up, coming off the bench against Denmark in September, but they both got opportunities in October too.
Saka made his first England start against Wales in a 3-0 friendly win, before Maitland-Niles got his full competitive debut against Denmark (again). Unfortunately, it didn’t go as planned, with Harry Maguire’s red card forcing the 23-year-old off after 36 minutes.
Regardless, it was still a big moment for the two players in their careers. Arsenal captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was clearly happy to see their progress.
“When l saw Ainsley & Buka making their England debut, I was so proud,” Aubameyang said. “The whole club was. I saw them arriving in the first team, starting training with us & now they are England players. It’s fantastic. They’re very talented but they also worked hard to get there.”
For Saka, that debut was married with a good run of starts for Arsenal. He’s playing very regularly at the moment, though it was rather worrying to see him come off with an injury against Leicester City.
Maitland-Niles’ situation is a bit less clear right now. He started regularly in August and September, but is only up to seven minutes in five games in October, despite making the squad for every single one of them.
Part of that is because he’s often competing with Saka for a spot. But it does seem like he should be playing a little more often at the moment. For his sake, we hope the chances to make the starting lineup return soon enough.