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Southampton: Ainsley Maitland-Niles will be look at regular starting spot

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Southampton loan signing Ainsley Maitland-Niles will be looking for an opportunity to grab a starting spot in Ralph Hasenhüttl’s starting lineup following the injury to Roméo Lavia. 

That is according to journalist Pete O’Rourke, who was speaking to GiveMeSport about the latest news from St Mary’s.

Maitland-Niles signed for the Saints on a season-long loan from Arsenal on deadline day and came on for the final 17 minutes of the club’s 1-0 defeat at Wolves the following weekend.

The midfielder will be looking for regular game time on the south coast and an injury to Lavia in the side’s 2-1 victory over Chelsea in August might just mean that he will get a chance at a regular run of games at St Mary’s.

O’Rourke believes that Maitland-Niles will now be pushing for a start as soon as he can, with his versatility a potential boost for the man from Arsenal’s chances of regular game time. 

He said: “I’m sure he’ll be pushing for that starting spot in that Southampton team right now, especially if Romeo Lavia is out for a spell as well.

“So, I just think he’s such a versatile performer that if he is needed, he will be able to do a job for Ralph Hasenhüttl’s team. 

“He’s obviously left Arsenal in search of first-team football, so he’ll be hoping he can break into that Southampton starting eleven as soon as possible.”

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TIF Thoughts on O’Rourke’s comments…

We believe that Maitland-Niles, who has previously been described as a “huge talent” by Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta, is very likely to get a run in Hasenhüttl’s side, with the injury to Lavia seemingly leaving an open door for the five-time England international to nail down a regular starting berth.

The 25-year-old endured an indifferent season during the last campaign after being shipped out on loan to Roma in the January transfer window, where he made 12 appearances but failing to record a goal or assist, according to Transfermarkt, though he was part of Jose Mourinho’s side that won the inaugural Europa Conference League last season.

We believe that this loan will be crucial to Maitland-Niles’ Premier League career as he’s now at the age where he needs to be performing to a solid standard every week if he is to have a top-flight career, and we think he will be fully focused on nailing down a spot in Hasenhüttl’s side as O’Rourke suggests.

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