Ainsley Maitland-Niles was part of the inspiration for West Bromwich Albion’s brief turnaround in early April, even if it did come much too late.
The on-loan Arsenal midfielder bluntly explained that they needed to liven up, suggesting that some of his teammates appeared to have already given up on securing Premier League safety. He told them he hadn’t joined on loan to go down without a fight.
The squad were taken aback, but they took inspiration from the message and followed it up with consecutive wins over Chelsea and Southampton. It was just a bit too late for West Brom to actually escape relegation.
Maitland-Niles could only watch on from the stands as West Brom lost to Arsenal to confirm their relegation this weekend, and the last few games will just be about playing for pride now.
West Brom face Liverpool (H), West Ham (H), and Leeds United (A) in the final three games. Not exactly an easy run to end on.
The Athletic add that Maitland-Niles won’t go back to West Brom in the Championship next season. At least he helped give them a few positive results to look back on in their last few months of Premier League football.