MX23RW : Wednesday, January 23 01:52:40

Maitland-Niles keen to be Arsenal's wing wonder

Maitland-Niles keen to be Arsenal's wing wonder
© Reuters
England Under-21 international has already featured in a variety of roles for the Gunners.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles believes he can be the answer to Arsenal's search for a new winger.

The Gunners have been linked with the likes of Denis Suarez of Barcelona and Dalian Yifang's Yannick Carrasco, but head coach Unai Emery has admitted the club have no money to make permanent signings and will instead be shopping in the loan market.

Emery has highlighted the need for a winger and has praised the versatility of England Under-21 international Maitland-Niles.

He broke into the Arsenal first-team squad as a central midfielder but can also play as a full-back and has enjoyed a couple of recent games as a wing-back. However, he sees his future further forward, which could prove beneficial to Emery.

"I'd like to be a winger," he told Sky Sports.

"I feel comfortable there and I've been playing there this season.

"I was a striker growing up. Thierry Henry was the perfect role model at the time.

"Then everybody started growing but I was still a bit short. As I was still quick, direct and could run at players they thought they would put me on the wing. So up until the age of 16 I was a winger."

Liverpool v Arsenal – Premier League – Anfield
Maitland-Niles puts Arsenal ahead against Liverpool (Peter Byrne/PA)

Asked where he saw himself playing in time, the 21-year-old academy product – who scored his first Arsenal goal in the 5-1 defeat at Liverpool – replied: "I like to think of myself as a winger at 25 years old, starting every week for Arsenal, scoring and assisting goals.

"I don't feel like I'm there. I'm still young and I have a lot of learning to do.

"Even if I was playing week-in, week-out I wouldn't say I was there because the learning stage I am at now, I still have so much more to give to the game.

"Once I get there where I can't give any more, then I'd say I'm there."

Maitland-Niles is in a battle to be in Emery's side for Saturday's Premier League clash at West Ham.

Arsenal have six players back from injury with the likes of Hector Bellerin and Mesut Ozil pushing for recalls.


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Arsenal manager Unai Emery gives orders on January 1, 2019
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool23193154134160
2Manchester CityMan City23182362174556
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs23170648232551
4Chelsea23145440192147
5Arsenal23135548321644
6Manchester UnitedMan Utd23135546331344
7Watford239683232033
8Wolverhampton WanderersWolves239592731-432
9Leicester CityLeicester2394102929031
10West Ham UnitedWest Ham2394103034-431
11Everton238693433130
12Bournemouth2393113342-930
13Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton2375112532-726
14Crystal Palace2364132332-922
15Southampton2357112540-1522
16Burnley2364132343-2022
17Newcastle UnitedNewcastle2356121931-1221
18Cardiff CityCardiff2354141944-2519
19Fulham2335152151-3014
20Huddersfield TownHuddersfield2325161340-2711

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