Arsene Wenger Hails Maitland-Niles as 'the Future' After an Excellent Performance Against Newcastle
Arsene Wenger has praised Ainsley Maitland-Niles after his impressive performance in the Premier League against Newcastle United.
The 20-year-old made his second start in the top flight for Arsenal on Saturday, just three days after his first. Both of Maitland-Niles' starts have come at left-back, despite the England U20 international being considered a midfielder.
The Arsenal youth product has only made five appearances in total for the Gunners, but spent the 2015/16 season on loan at Ipswich, where he played 30 times.
During his press conference Wenger said "I believe he is the future. He can play left back, right back, central midfield. Of the three positions, maybe the least natural for him is left back, but he adapts very quickly and is a good defender.
"He has that sense of one against one, he is very strong, he is very quick, he has very quick recovery runs when he comes back."
The Arsenal manager added: "He has some aspects to learn: experience and he has to work on his heading. But overall, what he has done in the last three days is positive."
The 68-year-old also commented on Jack Wilshere's performance after the midfielder completed another 90 minutes for the North London club.
"It’s positive. I believe that he has the basic stamina, he is like the rest of the team, he was a bit less sharp than on Wednesday night but overall what was very positive was that he didn’t weaken at all and he had this presence and his dribbling going forward."
Wenger continued: "He did a good defensive job as well and overall, I’d say it’s positive that he can produce two games of that quality in four days. Let’s not forget that Wednesday night to Saturday afternoon is two and a half days, so that’s the most difficult."