Sunday 30 October 2016

Ainsley Maitland – Niles Though

 If I was a decision maker at Arsenal, I will never let Jack Wilshere leave even if he is unable to walk let alone play football. I look at Jack as Mr. Arsenal. Yes he supported whatever team he supported before he was 9 years old but since then he has been Arsenal through and through and I think no club should ever let players like that go if they are good enough for the squad or the 1st team. I guess it is a different matter if the player wants to go. 

The rise of players like Alex Iwobi and Chuba Akpom and Ainsley means I am somewhat less emotional about Jack. Yes Alex is now a first team staple and I believe Chuba is a guaranteed starter in the EFL if fit and Ainsley has had 3 huge appearances already this season. But none of these 3 are yet to attain Jack’s status in the English game or in the affection of the Arsenal fan base but they are getting there. Alex, Chuba & Ainsley joined the Arsenal academy at age 6 and looks like barring injury at least Ainsley and Alex will have long careers with Arsenal. 

Ainsley wont be a surprise to Arsenal watchers. He played in the Champions League & Premier League 2 seasons ago. He was on loan at Ipswich last season and yes he has some personal challenges (we can’t choose our relatives) but you can tell Mr. Wenger likes & trusts Ainsley. 

I was surprised to see him at right back for the EFL game versus Reading. This was at a time when many were wondering what will happen if Hector Bellerin became unavailable. Ainsley was fabulous in that match. I was also thrilled to see him as Elneny’s midfield partner in the Reading game and he came on for some game time at  the end of yesterday’s match versus Sunderland. Considering he is only a year younger than Alex Iwobi, I am hoping this is Ainsley’s year. 

Collectively these ‘young uns’ are a further testament to Arsene’s legacy and football philosophy.

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