October 17, 2019, 9:24

Ainsley Maitland-Niles: I’m still learning to defend, admits Arsenal utility man

Ainsley Maitland-Niles: I’m still learning to defend, admits Arsenal utility man

“It’s always nice to have one main position where you play, and everyone else gets to play in their main position, so hopefully it’s just a matter of time before I can do that too.”

Maitland-Niles admits he prefers playing as part of a back five due to the greater width the system provides the team, but accepts the manager often changes to a diamond in midfield based on the opposition.

The right wing-back has urged Arsenal supporters to stick with the side “as a family” after the implosion against Watford at Vicarage Road.

2:44 Highlights from Watford's 2-2 draw with Arsenal in the Premier League

Having reached the Europa League final last season, losing 4-1 to Chelsea to miss out on a Champions League berth, Maitland-Niles says the priority remains returning to Europe’s premier cup competition – but the rigours of playing Thursdays and Sundays may take its toll.

“It does [have an impact on Premier League form] because you don’t really get enough time to recover from the games properly,” he added.

“But we’ve been through it before, two seasons in a row, and all we can do is keep on trying to get the hours in to recover, sleep and then get our tactical side ready for the next game.

2:38 Graeme Souness says Arsenal's players weren't taking responsibility for themselves or learning from their mistakes in their 2-2 draw with Watford

“The Premier League is our main competition that we want to solidify our place in. The top four would be brilliant, and anything outside of that would be unexpected for us.

“We’d been in the Champions League for so long, but we have to get back into it. That’s the main aim.”

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