In a recent interview with 888sport, former Arsenal striker Jeremie Aliadiere gave his views on a number of topics regarding his old club.
The Frenchman, who represented the Gunners between 2001 and 2007, last plied his trade for Lorient, before being released at the end of the 2016/17 season. In his six years in north London, the forward failed to ever establish himself as a regular starter in Arsene Wenger’s side. He went out on loan a number of times, but failed to greatly impress during these stints too.
However, he did collect a Premier League medal in his time with Arsenal. He made ten Premier League appearances over the course of the 2003/04 campaign, when Arsenal memorably became Invincibles by achieving an unbeaten league season. At that time, Aliadiere was considered one of the most exciting prospects at Highbury.
Now, the 36-year-old has picked out a young talent who excites him at the Emirates Stadium. In the aforementioned interview, Aliadiere sung the praises of Ainsley Maitland-Niles. He believes that the 21-year-old has a big future at the club.
Maitland-Niles made his first team debut in 2014, and has now racked up 68 appearances for Arsenal in all competitions. Last season he featured 30 times for Unai Emery’s side. However, he is yet to nail down a position in the team. Instead, he has generally filled in wherever he is needed on the pitch.
That is one of the aspects about the youngster Aliadiere finds so impressive. As well as having “all the attributes to become a top player”, Aliadiere also recognises that the Englishman is “so versatile and technically he’s very good and confident on the ball”. Aliadiere further stated that, “the fact that Maitland-Niles can play anywhere makes him priceless to the team.”
Maitland-Niles should take encouragement from such high praise. The Arsenal academy product has clearly earned Emery’s trust too. Fans of the club should expect to see plenty more of him this season.