Europa: Why Wenger Thinks Ainsley Maitland-Niles Is Ready
Arsene Wenger is known to give youngsters a chance to come into the fold especially on the big stage.
During his pre-match interview, Wenger says he is confident Ainsley Maitland-Niles is ready to play for the North London club despite recent criticism for poor player selection against Liverpool.
"His best position is defensive midfield. He has exceptional pace, a capacity to steal the ball from people, and I am convinced that he is ready to play.
"He has to improve a little bit on the concentration front, the demands of top-level football don't tolerate some lapses of concentration, but all the rest is there."
It is that mental discipline that the 20-year-old must show against BATE. Contrary to his comments, Wenger has certainly tolerated "lapses of concentration" from many of his stars, but not often from those he sees as defensive midfielders.
Wenger's comments suggest he will start centrally, rather than at wing-back, and it could be a big night him.
The Gunners touched down in Belarus earlier today as they look to make it two wins from two in their Europa League group campaign.
Wenger’s 19-man squad is a mixture of experience and youth, with the likes of Charlie Gilmour and Vlad Dragomir called up to the first-team squad.
20 year old Maitland-Niles has made 13 appearances for the Gunners and Wenger believes the midfielder – who has played at full-back – could become a regular for the club.
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