In a post released yesterday on the dot com, Arsene Wenger stated that young talents Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Reiss Nelson will be promoted to the first team next season.
Maitland-Niles was a mainstay in first-team training this season and had multiple appearances for the senior side, but had yet to be officially promoted. The youngster has impressed in multiple positions for the Gunners. Initially, he was a right winger but has played in both central midfield positions in a 4-2-3-1 for the youth sides as well as a handful of appearances at right back, a position he played in cup matches against Nottingham Forest and Preston North End this season. He has featured in central midfield for the England U20 side that is in the Finals of the U20 World Cup. In remains to be seen where Arsene Wenger sees Maitland-Niles featuring long-term, whether it be attack, midfield, right wing back, or as a utility player.
Nelson has trained with the first team frequently as well and has arguably been Arsenal’s top prospect the past couple of seasons. The young attacker has played every position behind the striker and has been a mainstay of Arsenal’s upper level youth teams since he was 15. Still not 18 until this December, Nelson is certainly one to keep an eye on in the coming seasons.
With it remaining to be seen how Arsenal will approach the Europa League, these youngsters, as well as others such as Jeff Reine-Adelaide and Krystian Bielik, may have two competitions in which to impress the manager this season. As a former youth correspondent for this site, I could not be more excited. These players have been really fun to watch develop in the youth ranks. Hopefully, these youngsters can break through the final challenge of their development and become Arsenal first-team mainstays like their former youth team teammate, Alex Iwobi.