It has been quite a journey for Ainsley Maitland-Niles: from striker, to winger, to central midfielder, to now playing on the left side of our defence.
The 20-year-old has made a big impression since breaking into the first team, but what lessons has he picked up along the way from his early days as a forward to where he is now?
"It’s nice to have that sort of responsibility [as a striker in my early days], that ‘Ainsley’s going to get you goals’" he told Arsenal Player. "I did that most years but then there was a year where I was a bit too small and people started growing quickly. Then they decided to put me on the wing.
"It’s just more of a movement thing [out there] and trying to off-balance defenders so that you can get behind them. I was always quick so it was just about using your brain more.
"Me and the coaches then had a few discussions where they believed that I had enough technique and some of my talents were wasted out wide when the game goes through the middle. They took a gamble with me by deciding to play me in midfield for a few games.
"It paid off, I had a few good games in there and they saw me start to grow physically. My footballing intelligence started to get better too and I sat down with Carl Laraman and Steve Gatting, and we made a plan on how I could develop as a central midfielder.
"Being a wide player is similar to playing as a left back or left wing-back," he added. "Central midfield is obviously about the technique and awareness, so you always know what’s going on around you. When I go up front, or around those sorts of areas, setting people up, my end product needs to be right."
Copyright 2019 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source.