Ainsley Maitland-Niles owns up to making major mistake under Mikel Arteta

Ainsley Maitland-Niles has slipped down Mikel Arteta's Arsenal pecking order
Ainsley Maitland-Niles has slipped down Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal pecking order (Picture: Getty)

Ainsley Maitland-Niles confessed he made a major mistake during the early days of Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal tenure which cost him a place in the side.

The versatile 22-year-old established himself as a first team regular under Unai Emery, predominantly filling in at right-back after Hector Bellerin suffered a serious knee injury.

Maitland-Nile’s featured prominently at the start of Arteta’s reign but slipped down the pecking order following a disciplinary breach.

Former Arsenal captain Arteta spoke passionately and openly about the ‘non-negotiables’ he would insist upon in order to help restore the club to its former glories soon after his appointment and axed Maitland-Niles after he turned up late for training.

Speaking about that incident, the academy graduate said: ‘It doesn’t bother me what people label me as because I think the management know themselves.

‘Ok I was late, maybe once during this manager’s time. It was a mistake, I spoke to the manager and put my hands up and took the consequences. Since then I haven’t been late. 

‘It was more of a learning experience and holding myself accountable as a man.’

Maitland-Niles caused a stir last year when he appeared to suggest he was unhappy playing at right-back but insists his message was taken out of contect.

He added: ‘I would play right-back every week if I had to. I am not really fussed.

‘The main thing is being out there with the team and helping them win games. That’s where some people may have misjudged what I said before. They misinterpreted what I said.

‘I didn’t mean I don’t want to play there because I would be happy to fill in and slot in and do the job anytime, anyplace.

‘Obviously I do prefer playing central midfield but that is not to say I don’t want to play right-back or that I’m not going to do the job there if the manager asks me to.

‘If the manager says to me “Ains you gotta go in goal this game I will put the gloves on and I am ready to rock n roll”.’

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