Arsenal legend Martin Keown slammed Ainsley Maitland-Niles for his performance in last night’s Europa League fixture against Vitoria.
Unai Emery started the 22-year-old at right-winger while Hector Bellerin was at right-back. Maitland-Niles’ performance was disappointing and he was eventually subbed off for Matteo Guendouzi at half-time when Arsenal were trailing 1-2. The Gunners eventually won the match 3-2 thanks to two splendid free-kicks from Nicolas Pepe.
Keown was far from pleased from Maitland-Niles’ performance and fears that the 22-year-old may not get any further opprtunity to play for Arsenal.
As quoted by football.london, the Gunners legend told BT Sport: “He looked like he was feeling sorry for himself, there’s no time for that. Maitland-Niles is all at sea there, he should receive that ball on the back foot, but that’s a laziness and sloppiness.
“He has great ability, but he’s wasting his talent at the minute. His career is slipping away. You get a moment in time to by an Arsenal player. It may have gone for him, because the manager dragged him off at half-time. He may never get another opportunity.”
Maitland-Niles’ recent appearances for Arsenal have come as a right-back. However, with Hector Bellerin back and Calum Chambers doing well in that position, it seems highly unlikely that the 22-year-old will start many matches for the Gunners again.
Right now, there’s a good chance that most of Maitland-Niles’ appearances for the remainder of the season may come only in Cup and Europa League matches.
Arsenal’s next fixture is against Crystal Palace on Sunday.