Ainsley Maitland-Niles confirms he had a choice to make over whether to leave Arsenal this summer, but he’s happy with his decision.
In August and early September, all the talk around Maitland-Niles was over whether he’d leave Arsenal in the summer transfer window. Arsenal turned down a poor offer from Wolves, but various clubs showed interest in upping the bid.
In the end, after positive performances in the Community Shield and the early games of the season, both player and club made the decision for him to stay. Maitland-Niles spoke this week about his talks with Arteta and how they convinced him to stay.
“There was a lot of speculation going around, but I chose to stay at the club I love,” Maitland-Niles said. “I am happy with my decision and I am sure the manager is happy that I stayed as well.
“It was about the manager having faith in me and him letting me know what’s going on and the situation. He did that and everything was fine in the end.
“There was never a rocky relationship between us. It was just he demanded more from me than I was demanding from myself. He told me that I had to work to do to get back into the team. That’s as simple as it was.
“It is a good job that I did listen. It is all paying off now.”
When Maitland-Niles talks about the decision paying off, it’s clear he’s partly referring to his recent England call-ups. He made his senior international debut over the September break, before getting his first start in October.
Unfortunately, a Harry Maguire red card forced Maitland-Niles off early for a centre-back. But there was nothing he did individually to lessen the chances of further call-ups in the future.
Now it’s a case of pushing on with Arsenal. He’ll likely get another start against Rapid Vienna this evening, so it’s up to him to keep taking advantage.