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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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TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
CManchester CityMan City38322495237298
2Liverpool38307189226797
3Chelsea38219863392472
4Tottenham HotspurSpurs382321367392871
5Arsenal382171073512270
6Manchester UnitedMan Utd381991065541166
7Wolverhampton WanderersWolves38169134746157
8Everton38159145446854
9Leicester CityLeicester38157165148352
10West Ham UnitedWest Ham38157165255-352
11Watford38148165259-750
12Crystal Palace38147175153-249
13Newcastle UnitedNewcastle38129174248-645
14Bournemouth38136195670-1445
15Burnley38117204568-2340
16Southampton38912174565-2039
17Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton3899203560-2536
RCardiff CityCardiff38104243469-3534
RFulham3875263481-4726
RHuddersfield TownHuddersfield3837282276-5416

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