Maitland-Niles reflects on his fall from Arsenal starter to bench player, bemoans lack of 'contact' from Arteta

Maitland-Niles reflects on his fall from Arsenal starter to bench player, bemoans lack of 'contact' from Arteta
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Ainsley Maitland-Niles was a nailed-on starter for Arsenal in the final weeks of the 2019–20 campaign. He made his England debut, the club rejected Wolverhampton's £20m bid for him, and his future at the Emirates seemed bright.

Fast forward a few months and he leaves Arsenal on loan after having been demoted to the bench and irregular appearances in cup competitions. And we're not surprised to say he wasn't happy about it.

"It was a difficult one for me to swallow because the back end of last season, I put in a couple of performances in the Cup, in the final, then after that break we had another final [Community Shield] which led to my England call-up not too long after that," Niles told the Telegraph.

"Then a couple of months after that, it all died down, I wasn’t playing anymore … so it was strange, very strange.

"I went from having everything at my feet to everything taken away from me. I was trying to understand it on my own. But sometimes it’s not for me to understand, it’s for me to keep working hard, to keep doing what I do and I have to let other people understand it for me.

"It was difficult to take. You get called up for England, play regular football for your club, get to an England camp then it all disappears and you’re not playing for either.

"You don’t really get any contact from either manager, from international stage or club. I was thinking: ‘What you want me to do now? What am I supposed to do now?’"

The 23-year-old has two years left on his Arsenal deal after returning from a loan at West Brom.

He still could be useful to the Gunners as his versatility, athleticism and raw talent are unquestionable. However, Ains is heavily linked with an exit, and he recently left the door open for leaving Arsenal.