Versatile midfielder Ainsley was promoted to the first-team squad this season after some impressive cameo appearances last term.
An academy graduate who has been at the club since he was nine years old, the teenager mainly starred for Steve Gatting’s under-23 side, but also played seven times for the senior side during 2016/17. He started four of those games, most notably in the 5-0 FA Cup fourth round win over Southampton in January 2017, alongside Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in the middle of the park. In the summer he was selected for the pre-season tour of Sydney, Shanghai and Beijing.
Capable of playing in central midfield, central defence, right back and right wing, Ainsley spent the 2015/16 season on loan at Championship side Ipswich Town, scoring twice and winning the club’s Player of the Month award in his first month at Portman Road.
At just 17 years and 102 days, the midfielder became our second-youngest Champions League player (behind Jack Wilshere) when he came off the bench against Galatasaray in December 2014, and made his Premier League debut against Newcastle United four days later.
An England youth international, Ainsley has captained his country at under-20 level and was a key figure in their Under-20 World Cup triumph in June 2017, the first time the Young Lions have ever lifted the trophy.