Albert Sambi Lokonga has named Ainsley Maitland-Niles as one of the fastest players at Arsenal training.
With the exception of a couple of loan spells, Maitland-Niles has spent his entire career as an Arsenal player.
This season, the 24-year-old has worked his way back into the senior squad after failing to get a move away from North London during the summer.
That means that he and new boy Lokonga have been training together under Mikel Arteta.
And asked during a Q&A on the Gunners’ official YouTube who the quickest was, the 21-year-old midfielder said: “The fastest I think is Ainsley or Auba. Yeah Ainsley is fast – really fast!”
Despite staying at Arsenal, and being unbanned from the training following his failed move to Everton, Maitland-Niles is still only a bit-part player.
He wanted to join Everton for first-team football but has only managed one Premier League start under Arteta this season – and 119 minutes in this competition as a whole.
If this continues until January, Maitland-Niles will be just as determined to leave.
But the good news [for him, at least] is that with Granit Xhaka missing for the rest of the year, Maitland-Niles could play a lot more.
Even before Xhaka’s injury, Arteta was using him in midfield and with the Switzerland international absent for a while, you could think that the Arsenal boss will turn to him – and Lokonga – a little more to partner Thomas Partey.