Interview

Maitland-Niles - Why I’m so calm on the pitch

Ainsley Maitland-Niles has made a name for himself in recent weeks as one of our most composed players.

Despite only making his first Premier League start against West Ham United last month, the 20-year-old has impressed fans and team-mates alike with his calmness in big games against Liverpool and Chelsea.
 
So why is Maitland-Niles so relaxed on the pitch?
 
“That’s just how I play,” he told Arsenal Player. “I know people think, ‘Oh he looks too relaxed, he looks like this or that’, but it’s just me as a person.
 
“It is quite odd for a youngster, but the team make me feel more comfortable. They have trust in me and they will give me the ball when I need to be given the ball. It’s just the team who have helped me settle by working together and I think I’ve earned their trust.
 
“Of course I get nervous before the game too but, I think everyone has those little butterflies in their stomach. You’re playing against world-class players every week, so you’re bound to be nervous at some point in the day.
 
“I think my dad’s influence helped too. He’s a very relaxed person who likes to use his brain a lot without talking. If he can’t fix the situation then of course he’ll speak about it and try to solve it with other people. I’m like that too.”