Ainsley Maitland-Niles appeared for the first time in an Arsenal shirt since his loan spell at Ipswich last season against Reading.
The midfielder said he was glad to be back playing at Meadow Park after a tough pre-season, but didn’t get the winning return he wanted. Find out what he said below:
on returning to action for Arsenal…It just felt great to be back out there on the pitch really. It was good to get the first 90 minutes of the season after preseason but it felt good to play again.
on the first 90 minutes of the season…We started off sharp and had a few chances but didn’t really take them, so I think it’s just back to the training ground to work on a few things now so that we can progress through the season now.
on Reading’s experienced players…We had a pretty young squad out there but we’re Arsenal - we should be beating teams. But tonight we didn’t show the aggression in midfield and that’s what has cost us the game.
on facing older players now as U-23 competition…Of course [that will be beneficial]. Everyone wants to play first-team football by the age of 18 or 19, so playing against these teams with the older players can be beneficial.
on using the Ipswich experience with the group…To be honest, it’s just showing experience for the young lads. I need to make sure that they’re on their game and when they’re not, just give them the praise throughout the game to carry on because I know that a lot of these boys have a lot of potential and they could become superstars.
on having a lot to offer after the loan experience…I wouldn’t say a lot, but I’ve got a little bit! Hopefully I can help.
on his targets for the season…Obviously I want to play for the first team. That’s the goal, so that’s my main target really.
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