Ainsley Maitland-Niles

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Ainsley - It’s brilliant to hear what Emery said

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.”


Ainsley signs new long-term contract

Ainsley Maitland-Niles has signed a long-term contract extension with the club.

Joining our academy at the age of nine, he enjoyed another successful season, featuring regularly for the first team in 2017/18. He made 28 appearances during the campaign at wing-back or full-back and in midfield.
In December 2014, at just 17 and 102 days, Ainsley became our second-youngest Champions League player when he came off the bench against Galatasaray to make his debut. He made his first appearance in the Premier League against Newcastle United just four days later.

His development was helped by a loan spell at Ipswich Town for the 2015/16 season, when he made 30 appearances for the Championship side, scoring twice and winning the club’s Player of the Month award in his first month at Portman Road.
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.
Ainsley will wear the No 15 shirt next season - click here to get your Maitland-Niles 15 shirt.
Congratulations on your new contract Ainsley. We all look forward to your continued progress with us.


How Ainsley was scouted while playing in the park

Ainsley Maitland-Niles may have been an Arsenal player since he was nine years old, but his journey to our academy started way before that.

The versatile midfielder, then just seven years old, was playing up front for local side Lakeview when he was first spotted by our scouts.
“I was playing in the park,” he told Arsenal Player. “They didn’t say anything to me but when I was sat in the car after the game, my dad turned around to me in the back seat and told me that there were scouts watching me.
“He didn’t exactly say who, but he told me that there were a few clubs watching me. I didn’t think anything of it at the time because I didn’t think about academies back then. I was just thinking that football was fun.
“I remember at my first Hale End trial there were loads of kids there,” Maitland-Niles added. “There were about 60 or 70 kids and we were split up into different teams. There were lots of pitches with different matches going on at the same time.
“Now, I’d put joining the academy in the same category as making my first-team debut because now I know how much it really means to play for Arsenal. To go out there at Emirates Stadium every week is an amazing feeling.
“I don’t think I knew how much [joining Arsenal’s academy] meant to me back then but if I heard that about my own kid, if I had one, I’d be over the moon. I know how much it really means and what sort of pathway it can lead you to.”