Maitland-Niles recalls how and why he became a winger in his early days at Arsenal
- In his interview with Sky Sports, Ainsley Maitland-Niles remembers the beginning of his Gunner life.
- The Englishman says he was a striker with Thierry Henry a perfect role model.
- When everybody in the team started growing, Ainsley remained short.
- His pace made the coaches put him on the wing where he played up until 16.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles has revealed he started as a striker at Arsenal but then was moved to the wing when he got a little too short for a striker.
"It was training three times a week on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and then either a game on Saturday or Sunday, depending on what age you were," Ains said.
"I was a striker growing up. Thierry Henry was the perfect role model at the time. Then everybody started growing but I was still a bit short. As I was still quick, direct and could run at players they thought they'd put me on the wing. So up until the age of 16 I was a winger.
Can we all just take a moment to appreciate Ainsley Maitland-Niles?— Daniel Finton (@Daniel_finton) January 11, 2019
Man will literally play any position on the pitch as long as it means he’ll get game time 👏
"At about the age of 14 [I realised I was good enough for Arsenal], before then it was just a dream. I wouldn't have said I was definitely going to make it before then.
"It was my mindset that changed. I had a few conversations with my father and he gave the belief in myself that if I actually put my mind to it and enjoy it more then I could be whatever I want to be.
"I didn't believe in myself enough. I had fun whilst I was playing on some days but some days I thought I didn't want to play anymore. It was about being more in tune with myself and thinking that I have a talent for a reason."