Mikel Arteta tells Arsenal youngster to ‘put his head down’

Mikel Arteta says he wants to see more from Ainsley Maitland-Niles in Arsenal training

Mikel Arteta (Photo: Arsenal Media / Screengrab)
Mikel Arteta (Photo: Arsenal Media / Screengrab)

Mikel Arteta has told Ainsley Maitland-Niles to “put his head down” and work hard to prove himself worthy of a spot in the Arsenal starting line-up.

The 22-year-old was a late substitute during Arsenal’s 2-0 win over Portsmouth in the FA Cup fifth round at Fratton Park on Monday night as the Gunners sealed their spot in the quarter-finals.

Maitland-Niles has made two assists in 14 Premier League games for Arsenal so far this season but he has struggled for regular game-time under Arteta and has not started a game since the end of January.

Arteta was quizzed about Maitland-Nile’s situation following the victory over Portsmouth in the FA Cup, and the Spanish head coach admitted that he wants to see more from the left-sided attacker.

Speaking at his post-match news conference, Arteta said of Maitland-Niles: “Ainsley needs to put his head down and work hard and show me every day in training that he wants it more than anyone else, he wants to play for this club and fight for his place.”

Arsenal will now switch their attentions back towards Premier League affairs and their home clash against West Ham United at The Emirates on Saturday afternoon.

Arteta’s side are currently eight points behind Chelsea FC in the race for a top-four finish, but they can close that gap down to just five points if they are able to win their game in hand.

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