Martin Keown: I really admire 20-year-old Arsenal star

The Arsenal legend wants to see Ashley Maitland-Niles make an adjustment to his game

Arsenal manager Unai Emery Photo: Screen grab

Martin Keown has lavished praise on Ashley Maitland-Niles but urged the Arsenal starlet to learn from Manchester City star Kyle Walker.

The Gunners defender started at left-back in Arsenal’s 2-0 loss to defending Premier League champions Manchester City at The Emirates on Sunday evening.

Maitland-Niles was forced off in the first half due to injury following Raheem Sterling broke the deadlock in the ninth minute.

The 20-year-old made 38 appearances in all competitions in the 2017-18 season to get some valuable first-team experience under his belt.

Kyle Walker helped Manchester City to ease to a comfortable win over the Gunners to make a win ing start to the defence of their Premier League crown.

Former Arsenal defender Keown explained what Maitland-Niles needs to do to improve his performances under new Gunners head coach Unai Emery.

“Ainsley Maitland-Niles, who started at left-back for Arsenal, is a player I admire a lot. I think he has a great future, although not necessarily in that position, and one of his strengths is how he fast he is,” Keown told BBC Sport.

“He ended up going off injured after 35 minutes against City but, when he was on the pitch, instead of taking the game to Kyle Walker down his flank it seemed like he was content just to do enough to try to contain him.

“Walker, in contrast, was being aggressive with his pace and was so keen to get forward he almost appeared to be jet-propelled.

“That is what I want to see Maitland-Niles doing too, because he is also fast enough to really hurt teams.

“But he is not the only one I would like to see some improvement from – there is an awful lot of work for Emery to do on the training pitch with all of his players.”

Arsenal finished in sixth spot in the Premier League table to miss out on a Champions League spot under Wenger for the second successive season.

The Gunners will make the short trip to Stamford Bridge on Saturday evening after Chelsea FC were 3-0 winners against Huddersfield Town.

Arsenal signed five players in the summer transfer window following the appointment of Emery as Wenger’s replacement.

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