Ainsley Maitland-Niles made his full Premier League debut against West Ham United on Wednesday night, but it came in a largely unfamiliar position.
The Under-20 World Cup winner is naturally a central midfielder but after proving his versatility at wing-back in our Europa League and Carabao Cup campaigns, was handed his first league start on the left of our back four at London Stadium.
Maitland-Niles produced a solid display in defence and completed more crosses than anyone else on Wednesday, and Arsène Wenger was encouraged by the 20-year-old’s performance.
“I felt that he played well,” the manager told Arsenal Player. “He played a little bit with the handbrake on in the first half but he defended well and gave good balls, showed calmness. In the second half he was even more adventurous and for me it is a positive performance.
“Playing in different positions to your preferred position is part of your job and it can only make you better.
The most important thing when you take that step is to convince people you can play at that level. If you do that for a while, then maybe you’ll get into your best position.”
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