Ainsley Maitland-Niles was as surprised as anyone to hear his name pop up in Unai Emery’s first interviews as our new head coach.
Chief executive Ivan Gazidis revealed that the Spaniard had presented a detailed dossier mapping Maitland-Niles’ development when he was interviewing for the role.
The Hale End youngster signed a new deal this week and, after meeting our new head coach, cannot wait to start working him when our squad reports for pre-season in July.
“You don’t really hear a lot of young players being shouted out by their managers, especially a new manager who hasn’t really seen them play too much,” Maitland-Niles told Arsenal Player. “I think it’s brilliant to hear from him and it gives me a load of confidence.
“It feels fantastic knowing that I’m going to be a part of the squad, and a big part of the squad. It means a lot with the new head coach coming in and Arsenal tying me down [with a new contract]. I’m very pleased.
“We had a little meeting. He said that he wants all of his players to work hard and I’m no stranger to doing that. It will be second nature to me.
“I think [the high-pressing game] suits me a lot, too. I’ve got a lot of pace to give to the team, pressing up high and winning the ball back as soon as possible is a major factor in football.”
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