Ainsley Maitland-Niles

Ainsley Cory Maitland-Niles (born 29 August 1997) is an English professional footballer for Premier League club Arsenal and the England national team. Mainly playing as a central midfielder, he can also be deployed as a right-back or a left wing-back.[5]

Ainsley Maitland-Niles
1 Ainsley Maitland-Niles 2018 (cropped).jpg
Maitland-Niles playing for Arsenal in 2018
Personal information
Full name Ainsley Cory Maitland-Niles[1]
Date of birth (1997-08-29) 29 August 1997 (age 24)[2]
Place of birth Goodmayes, England
Height 5 ft 10 in (1.77 m)[3]
Position(s) Central midfielder[4]
Club information
Current team
Arsenal
Number 15
Youth career
2003–2014 Arsenal
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2014– Arsenal 72 (1)
2015–2016Ipswich Town (loan) 30 (1)
2021West Bromwich Albion (loan) 12 (0)
National team
2014 England U17 3 (0)
2014–2015 England U18 4 (1)
2015–2016 England U19 11 (2)
2016–2017 England U20 16 (1)
2017–2018 England U21 4 (0)
2020– England 5 (0)
Honours
Men's football
Representing  England
FIFA U-20 World Cup
Winner 2017
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 23:11, 21 November 2021 (UTC)
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 22:15, 18 November 2020 (UTC)

Maitland-Niles spent the 2015–16 season on loan at Ipswich Town. Internationally, he has represented England from under-17 to senior level.

Early lifeEdit

Maitland-Niles was born in Goodmayes, Greater London, being raised in Edmonton, North London and attended Oaks Park High School, Ilford.[6] He grew up in a single parent family with his mother, Jule Niles, and his brother, Cordi.[7] He is of Jamaican descent.[8]

Club careerEdit

ArsenalEdit

Early careerEdit

 
Maitland-Niles playing for Arsenal in 2013

Maitland-Niles is a product of Arsenal's academy having joined the club at the age of six.[9][10] Maitland-Niles made the step up to Arsenal's U21s during the 2013–14 season, having broken into the U18 set up the season before.[11] He signed his first professional contract with Arsenal on 24 October 2014.[12]

On 9 December 2014, Maitland-Niles made his professional debut at the age of 17 years and 102 days in a UEFA Champions League match against Galatasaray, replacing Aaron Ramsey at half time in an eventual 4–1 win for Arsenal.[13] In doing so he became the second youngest player to have represented Arsenal in the Champions League, behind Jack Wilshere. Four days later, he made his Premier League debut, replacing Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in added time in a 4–1 win against Newcastle United.[14]

2015–16: Loan to Ipswich TownEdit

On 2 July 2015, Maitland-Niles signed for Ipswich Town on a season-long loan for the 2015–16 season.[15] Upon joining the club, he was given a number seven shirt ahead of a new season.[16]

Maitland-Niles made his Ipswich Town debut, starting the whole game before being substituted in the 82nd minute, in a 2–2 draw against Brentford in the opening game of the season.[17] Since making his Ipswich Town debut, Maitland-Niles' performances immediately made an impact and was praised by manager Mick McCarthy, describing him as "outstanding".[18] His performance then saw him being named the club's player of the month for September.[19] He scored his first goal for Ipswich and his first ever senior goal in a 2–0 win over Bolton Wanderers on 3 November 2015.[20] His second goal for the club came on 19 January 2016, in a 2–1 loss against Portsmouth in the third round replay of the FA Cup.[21] Later in the season, however, Maitland-Niles' first-team opportunities was soon limited, due to injuries[22] and competitions,[23] leading him to play for the reserve side.[24] After making thirty-two appearances and scoring two times in all competitions, Maitland-Niles returned to his parent club.[25]

2017–2020: First-team breakthrough, FA Cup winEdit

On his return to Arsenal the following season, Maitland-Niles started a match away at the City Ground against Nottingham Forest in the EFL Cup at right-back.[26] Maitland-Niles again started at centre midfield against Southampton in an FA Cup fourth-round game in an eventual 5–0 win for Arsenal.[27] He came on in the 74th minute as Arsenal was victorious by a 2–0 margin against Sutton United in the fifth round of the cup.[28] Maitland-Niles established himself as a regular first-team player in Arsène Wenger's final season as manager of the club, making 28 total appearances in all competitions. On 12 June 2018, he signed a long-term contract at Arsenal.[29]

On 12 August 2018, in Unai Emery's first match as manager, Maitland-Niles started at left-back. However, he would be subbed off 35 minutes into the match after suffering a broken leg.[30] After his return from his leg break and a season-ending injury for Héctor Bellerín, Maitland-Niles established himself as Emery's starting right-back for the remainder of the season. On 29 December 2018, he scored his first goal for the club in a 5–1 Premier League defeat to Liverpool at Anfield.[31] Maitland-Niles scored his first UEFA Europa League goal on 14 March 2019, scoring Arsenal's second in a 3–0 quarter-final second-leg victory against Stade Rennais at the Emirates Stadium.[32]

With Bellerín still working his way back from injury, Maitland-Niles kept his place as Arsenal's starting right-back for the opening games of the 2019–20 Premier League. On 22 September 2019, Maitland-Niles received a red card during the first half of Arsenal's 3–2 victory against Aston Villa at the Emirates Stadium.[33] His sending off came after he received yellow cards in both the 11th and 41st minutes. He scored his first EFL Cup goal against Liverpool in a 5–5 draw (Liverpool won on penalties) at Anfield.[citation needed] On 1 August 2020, Maitland-Niles was selected to start in the FA Cup Final against Chelsea, as Arsenal won their 14th FA Cup.[34]

Maitland-Niles started the 2020 FA Community Shield on 29 August, taking and scoring the second penalty in a penalty shoot-out win against Liverpool after the match ended 1–1.[35] In the FA Community Shield, Maitland-Niles was awarded the man of the match.[36] Maitland-Niles has struggled to secure a spot in Mikel Arteta's first team, with interest coming from West Brom and Southampton to sign on loan.[37][38]

2021–present: Loan to West Brom and desire to leaveEdit

On 1 February 2021, Maitland-Niles joined fellow Premier League club West Bromwich Albion on a loan deal until the end of the season.[39] He made his debut in a 0-2 defeat to Tottenham in the Premier League on 7 February.[40]

During the summer of 2021, Maitland-Niles was linked with a move away from Arsenal, with Everton reportedly interested in signing him on loan.[41] The potential move fell through however, and on 30 August 2021, Maitland-Niles publicly expressed his desire to leave the club via social media, stating "All I want to do is go where I'm wanted & where I'm going to play".[42]

International careerEdit

Maitland-Niles has played for England at various levels within the youth setup of the Three Lions. He made three appearances for England U17 in 2014.[43]

He was then called up by England U18 in November 2014[44] and scored on his debut, in a 3–2 win over Poland U18.[45] He went on to make four appearances for the England U18 side.

In September 2015, Maitland-Niles was called up by England U19[46] and scored on his England U19 debut, in a 3–2 win over Germany U19 on 4 September 2015.[47] He scored again the following month, in a 2–0 win over Macedonia U19.[48] He was then included in the England U19 squad for the UEFA European Under-19 Championship that saw them reached the semi-final of the tournament.[49]

On 1 September 2016, Maitland-Niles scored on his England U20 debut, in a 1–1 draw against Brazil U20.[50] In May 2017 he was called up to England's squad for the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup in South Korea.[51] England eventually got to the final of the tournament where they were up against Venezuela. Maitland-Niles, who came on in the 75th minute of play, went on to win the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup as England beat Venezuela by a 1–0 margin. This was the first time England had ever won the Under-20 World Cup.[52][53]

On 29 August 2020, Maitland-Niles was called up to the England senior squad by Gareth Southgate for the UEFA Nations League matches against Iceland and Denmark.[54] He made his debut on 8 September coming on as a substitute against Denmark.[55]

Style of playEdit

Maitland-Niles is known for his versatility, with his pace and energy, he can play as a winger, central midfielder, full-back, and wing-back,[56] though he prefers playing on the wing, describing it as "his natural position."[57]

Former Arsenal Manager, Arsene Wenger, once praised Maitland-Niles as "a good defender", saying that "he has that sense of one against one" and "has very quick recovery runs."[58]

Career statisticsEdit

ClubEdit

As of match played 20 November 2021
Appearances and goals by club, season and competition
Club Season League FA Cup EFL Cup Europe Other Total
Division Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Arsenal 2014–15[59] Premier League 1 0 1 0 0 0 1[a] 0 0 0 3 0
2016–17[60] Premier League 1 0 3 0 3 0 0 0 7 0
2017–18[61] Premier League 15 0 1 0 3 0 9[b] 0 0 0 28 0
2018–19[62] Premier League 16 1 2 0 2 0 10[b] 1 30 2
2019–20[63] Premier League 20 0 5 0 1 1 6[b] 0 32 1
2020–21[64] Premier League 11 0 1 0 3 0 5[b] 0 1[c] 0 21 0
2021–22[65] Premier League 8 0 0 0 3 0 11 0
Total 72 1 13 0 15 1 31 1 1 0 132 3
Ipswich Town (loan) 2015–16[66] Championship 30 1 2 1 0 0 32 2
West Bromwich Albion (loan) 2020–21[64] Premier League 12 0 12 0
Career total 114 2 15 1 15 1 31 1 1 0 176 5
  1. ^ Appearance in UEFA Champions League
  2. ^ a b c d Appearances in UEFA Europa League
  3. ^ Appearance in FA Community Shield

InternationalEdit

As of match played 18 November 2020[67]
Appearances and goals by national team and year
National team Year Apps Goals
England 2020 5 0
Total 5 0

HonoursEdit

Arsenal

England U20

Individual

ReferencesEdit

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External linksEdit