Football

Maitland-Niles.

Gary Lineker posted an honest tweet about Maitland-Niles during Arsenal 2-2 Chelsea

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Ainsley Maitland-Niles only made his first Premier League start in December but already carries himself like one of the more experiences players at Arsenal.

The 20-year-old midfielder has been utilised as a left wing-back by Arsene Wenger over the Christmas period.

He was preferred to Sead Kolasinac when the Gunners hosted Liverpool last week and he was superb in Wednesday night's 2-2 draw with Chelsea.

Arsene Wenger explained why he picked the inexperienced youngster over Kolasinac.

"He has done well," Wenger told Sky Sports. "His pace against Salah, who is quick and moves behind a lot so it’s important to be quick against him.

"Obviously he has a lack of experience so there’s always a for and against. When you’re 20-years-old, you get your chance, you have to grab it. You have to go for it, that’s what you want for a player.

"You don’t make your debut at 25 as a top player. When you get your chance, it’s part of your job, you have to grab it."

His individual highlights Vs Chelsea

Arsenal v Chelsea - Premier League

Maitland-Niles was recalled to the XI on Wednesday night after Kolasinac hobbled out of Sunday's 1-1 draw away at West Brom.

The England U21 international was quite frankly brilliant, producing a last ditch challenge on Tiemoue Bakayoko midway through the second-half to deny the Frenchman a goal.

Chelsea right wing-back Victor Moses was having a torrid time of it up against Maitland-Niles and Antonio Conte hauled him off in the 56th minute.

His individual highlights show that he certainly has the ability to be part of Arsenal's first team for years to come.

It must be noted that he is not naturally a left-back and was caught out by Davide Zappacosta for Chelsea's second goal.

Lineker's tweet about Maitland-Niles

The Match of the Day host took to social media during the game to sing the praises of Arsenal's talented youngster.

Lineker tweeted: "Plays with an assured calmness and maturity that’s way beyond his 20 years."

He's dead right about him.

Kolasinac and Monreal are both out for the next two weeks so Maitland-Niles looks set to keep his spot in Wenger's first XI for the upcoming cup games against Nottingham Forest and Chelsea.

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Topics:
Arsenal
Premier League
Chelsea
Football
Gary Lineker

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