Kevin Campbell has hit out at Mikel Arteta of his use of Ainsley Maitland-Niles this season after the youngster’s start against Crystal Palace last week.
Maitland-Niles made his first Premier League start since the 1-1 draw at home to Southampton as the England international filled in for the injured Kieran Tierney at left-back.
Speaking on the Same Old Arsenal podcast, the former Highbury favourite claimed that the Spanish coach was ‘trying to give’ the ace a game when he started him last week.
Campbell said: “Maybe he is just trying to get him a game. You think about it, he played at Everton and he was our best player by a country mile, Maitland-Niles at right-back. But then we don’t see him until [Palace]. It’s crazy.”
Should Maitland-Niles start in central midfield more often?
It really is a strange situation especially when you look back at how well the ace played away to Everton. Despite the fact Arsenal lost the game, Maitland-Niles was one of the stand-out performers as he starved Richarlison of any real opportunities in front of goal.
The Brazilian, who was starting on the left-flank in an attacking three behind Dominic Calvert-Lewin, had zero shots on target and played zero key passes as he proved ineffective, due to the performance of the Englishman.
What happened next was quite baffling as the 23-year-0ld made way for Hector Bellerin, who started at home to Chelsea. On the whole, you’d look at the decision-making from Arteta and scratch your head because Maitland-Niles did nothing wrong which warranted him being dropped.
It seems the £35k-p/w star doesn’t have a future at the club. He looks to be second-choice behind Hector Bellerin and Kieran Tierney and at 23, you wouldn’t blame him for looking for opportunities elsewhere.