Interview

‘It’s our dream to play Champions League football’

Maitland-Niles

Ainsley Maitland-Niles is growing in confidence by the game.

Since returning from injury against Manchester United at the start of March, the 21-year-old has gone from strength to strength at right wing-back, proving a more than capable deputy for the absent Hector Bellerin.

Maitland-Niles’ defensive performance against Newcastle United helped us keep a third clean sheet in a row, and leapfrog Tottenham Hotspur into third place.

The England youth international spoke to the media after the game, and this is what he said:

on the game…
It was a great performance. We knew we had to get the three points today to go into third place. It was just about staying focused on the task and not conceding. We always knew we were going to score.

on whether Spurs’ defeat gave us extra incentive to win…
Yeah of course. I’m pretty sure everyone was at home watching the game last night. Everyone studied Newcastle too. It’s just a good opportunity for us to go out there, show our quality and say, ‘Look, we are one of the best teams in the league and we can compete for the Champions League once again’.

on how much we want to play Champions League football next season…
It’s every team’s dream to play Champions League football. It’s the best European competition in the world. To play against all the big teams would be fantastic and you get to test yourself fully. That’s all we wanted to do, to go out there and win today’s game today. We’ve made one step closer to succeeding.

on Mesut Ozil and Aaron Ramsey…
Everyone loves Mesut and Aaron. They’re great with the ball at their feet and they can both run in behind as well. Mesut showed his physicality today and I think that was excellent from him. It was great work-rate from both of them.

on his own performances…
I’m trying. I’m just trying to be consistent with my performances. I speak with the manager quite often and he tells me what he wants me to do, what I do well and what I can improve. It’s going well at the moment so I’m proud.