Football

Maitland-Niles.

Danny Murphy shared his honest opinion on Maitland-Niles after Arsenal 3-0 Watford

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Arsenal youngster Ainsley Maitland-Niles replaced Hector Bellerin at right-back for Sunday's 3-0 Premier League win over Watford.

The Gunners had lost each of their last three league games but returned to winning ways thanks to goals from Shkodran Mustafi, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Henrikh Mkhitaryan.

Maitland-Niles made his Premier League debut in 2014 but had to wait three years to make his first league start.

It's been a shambolic season at the Emirates but the 20-year-old academy graduate - who has mainly played as a left-back - looks set to have a real future at the top.

A central midfielder by trade, Maitland-Niles has been used in a number of different positions by Arsene Wenger this season.

He has excelled wherever he has filled in and Bellerin - who hasn't been at his best this season - might well be worried about losing his spot in the first XI.

Retired Premier League midfielder Danny Murphy was waxing lyrical about Maitland-Niles on Match of the Day 2.

"I actually think he [Maitland-Niles] is going to be a real superstar, this lad," said Murphy on MOTD2.

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"He's played in a couple of different positions and he keep impressing me more and more.

"He's playing out of position in these full-back areas - he was at right-back today.

"But he's so naturally two-footed it's unbelievable. Look at his raw power and his intent.

"But his calmness is what Martin [Keown] and I were talking about throughout the day.

FBL-ENG-PR-ARSENAL-WATFORD

"This is Premier League football and no one seems to be able to beat him one-on-one defensively, which is a fantastic quality."

Martin Keown agreed with Murphy on MOTD2 and even suggested that he would've been "more than happy" to play alongside Maitland-Niles at Arsenal.

"I'd have been more than happy to have had him as a right back as a colleague alongside me" said the former Arsenal defender.

"He's answering the call at right-back and Bellerin might be looking at that today and be a bit concerned - because he slotted in beautifully."

Arsenal FC v 1. FC Koeln - UEFA Europa League

Bellerin - who has been sidelined with a knee injury - is in contention to start against AC Milan on Thursday night.

Should Maitland-Niles be given the nod instead of him though? Let us know what you think by leaving a comment below.

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Topics:
Premier League
Hector Bellerin
Arsenal
Watford
Football

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