Those watching on BT Sport will have heard me make Ainsley Maitland-Niles my man of the match at Wembley.
He was pivotal in Arsenal winning the Community Shield — even his penalty was the epitome of cool after I feared I might have given him the commentator’s kiss of death — and his post-match interview was intriguing.
Maitland-Niles was asked about his future with him being linked to Wolves, who have just let their wing back Matt Doherty join Tottenham.
His answer — ‘I am an Arsenal player until I am told otherwise’ — did not sound like someone who is set to stay.
Maybe he feels he will be guaranteed better game time at Molineux. But it’s good to hear Arsenal are considering a transfer U-turn after his performance against Liverpool.
He is such a versatile talent, a diamond, and I do believe Mikel Arteta trusts him. You don’t start against Liverpool here, or in the FA Cup semi-final and final against Manchester City and Chelsea, if that isn’t the case.
Gareth Southgate has called Maitland-Niles, who only turned 23 on Saturday, into his England squad, too, having noticed how players don’t go past him easily. Neither Sadio Mane nor Mo Salah had any joy with him at left wing back, and there is an argument he’d be a better right wing back than Hector Bellerin.
If I was an Arsenal decision-maker, I wouldn’t be in a hurry to get rid of Maitland-Niles, who still has three years on his contract. As his Wikipedia page states under playing position: ‘Midfielder, winger, full back, wing back.’ This young man’s versatility is a weapon, as is his pace and the way he reads the game.
Arteta would be better off with him than without him.