Ainsley Maitland-Niles: Midfielder or in deNile?

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Mrs Bergkamp

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I know it's AMN's thread but I'll lump Willock in too. Both are doing quite well on their loans which is good for us. I've seen some say that they've found their level but Wilshere had a good loan at Bolton, Ashley Cole went to Palace ESR went to Huddersfield. Woj and Emi to name two more has good loans and are now considered top GK's so I think this view is a bit strange. The loans give them a chance to showcase their ability fairly regularly and hopefully in or near their preferred position.
My main issue is that the minutes the players have been given have been in lopsided teams abd bad situations. Neither started or were subbed on three games in a row in their preferred position in a full strength team. The same is almost true for Pepe too! Neither got a kick next to Partey but Elneny and Ceballos have! Willock tbf looked good in the EL group stage and imo, much more could have been done to test them (and Saliba) in the first half of the season at least. We've thrown away a lot of time on dross whilst not examining the academy talent we have. It's wasteful on so many levels.
 

MutableEarth

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I noticed WBA played him slightly deeper last night in a two with Yokuslu. I didn't see the Chelsea game but the previous games I've seen he's partnered Gallagher with Yokuslu behind them but I think the deeper role looks like his best role.

Really intelligent performance last night. He was receiving the ball in deeper positions and beating the high press from Southampton for fun which abled him to turn and get into space with the game in front of him then. Really controlled that midfield, took Ward-Prowse out of the game. Can run all day too, great athlete.
Yeah, I like him in the pivot as a more defensive 8. His defending has improved quite a bit, probably the only decent thing to come out of him playing full-back. Still think he sells himself a bit when 1v1 via his body shape but he wins a lot of duels.

The bigger issue I have with him is the way he telegraphs his passes. He has the technical quality to play most of them (his final ball is ass though) but he often does the opposite of disguising them and makes them super obvious so they're easily cut out. It's one of those areas that corresponds to his lack of concentration and careless nature. Last night was a small glimpse into what he can do when he's switched on. It wasn't a perfect performance at all, there were times I felt he was a little sloppy, but as you noted, it was a smart performance where the smaller details were taken care of really well alongside Yokuslu (who's been impressive for West Brom every time I've seen them).

Don’t think anyone is saying that Willock and AMN are Scholes and Keane 2.0 but they’ve never been given a consistent opportunity.

If we were competing for a title or even top 4 I’d be ok with not giving them minutes but we might not manage to finish in the top 10 ffs.

Giving potential development minutes to junk players like Ceballos and Elneny just kicks the can down the road and tanks their values but with the added bonus of still being a sh-t team.
This is precisely my issue with arguments against the Hale Enders. We're constantly giving time to mediocre players in the name of experience and the casualty is more than just the development of players who have a higher ceiling and may or may not become better players than the squad players we give their time to instead. AMN and Willock have much more developing to do and areas to work on before we can really give them their flowers but I have more time for them because I can see their ability.

I would be far more pliable to this line of thought if Ceballos and Elneny were any good. Elneny has done a respectable job in some games but he's always gonna be a 6/10 player. Ceballos has his good moments but he's far too slow at times on and off the ball.

I've seen enough of AMN and Willock to know they're better technicians than given credit. A bigger issue with both players is the lack of definition and conviction in certain phases of play - this is solely down to lack of time, not lack of talent. As such, the likelihood is that they will leave Arsenal and forge careers elsewhere - which under most circumstances I would be OK with. Not when the players filling the time for them won't be players like Miguel Azeez, Catalin Cirjan or Charlie Patino but players like Mohammed Elneny and Dani Ceballos. Who's to say the recruitment will be any better?

We're not in a good enough position to forgo the in-game development of these players in favor of squad players who continually underperform in the name of experience. Neither scenario is ideal for me but would I rather have AMN and WIllock instead of Ceballos and Elneny right now? You ****ing bet your ass I would.
 

MutableEarth

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If every manager he has worked with except for Big Sam does not want to play AMN as a midfielder, it is clear he does not play the best as a midfielder. And Big Sam probably is playing AMN as a midfielder only because AMN demanded to do so before joining WBA.
Well to me it is clear he does. He is always inconsistent at RB and typecast in the role because he's fast and can defend 1v1. He doesn't attack wide areas well enough to justify playing there, and only works in a purely defensive category, which not only eliminates a huge part of his game in terms of the teams possession but gives him more opportunities to be idle as he's less involved in the game. It's not the best use of AMN and I will dispute this with anyone.
 

AberGooner

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Yeah, I like him in the pivot as a more defensive 8. His defending has improved quite a bit, probably the only decent thing to come out of him playing full-back. Still think he sells himself a bit when 1v1 via his body shape but he wins a lot of duels.

The bigger issue I have with him is the way he telegraphs his passes. He has the technical quality to play most of them (his final ball is ass though) but he often does the opposite of disguising them and makes them super obvious so they're easily cut out. It's one of those areas that corresponds to his lack of concentration and careless nature. Last night was a small glimpse into what he can do when he's switched on. It wasn't a perfect performance at all, there were times I felt he was a little sloppy, but as you noted, it was a smart performance where the smaller details were taken care of really well alongside Yokuslu (who's been impressive for West Brom every time I've seen them).
Yeah I think his defensive ability in midfield along with Yokuslu is really impressive. I read since AMN's debut only United have a better defensive record. Really hard to outrun or overpower them. As you say he has the ability to play the passes but still lacks the consistency but hopefully that will come.
 

AbouCuéllar

Wishes to get banned elsewhere
Yeah, I like him in the pivot as a more defensive 8.

What higher table team has a defensive 8? I'm interested in what you would see as a good comp. for AMN, because I can't think of where he fits into a top team as a central midfielder. Casemiro is someone who has always been more of a real CM than him, he's limited in terms of quality like AMN but has always had more range of passing. Ndidi? He's an absolute defensive monster, no one is even close to his defensive level, it's an extremely optimistic comp. to think that AMN gets to that defensive level.

This is precisely my issue with arguments against the Hale Enders. We're constantly giving time to mediocre players in the name of experience and the casualty is more than just the development of players who have a higher ceiling and may or may not become better players than the squad players we give their time to instead. AMN and Willock have much more developing to do and areas to work on before we can really give them their flowers but I have more time for them because I can see their ability.

I totally get this argument when it applies. I just don't think it applies with limited talents like Willock and AMN. This could be a more interesting argument with Nelson and Willian / Pepe, IMO, because with Nelson you can actually see the potential to be a starting player at a top club, something that's really impossible to foresee for Willock and AMN. Tbf, though, it is very much a speculative argument there, too, and Nelson really is about 10x more likely to follow a career trajectory of Redmond or Demarai Gray than to have the other type we're talking about.

I would be far more pliable to this line of thought if Ceballos and Elneny were any good. Elneny has done a respectable job in some games but he's always gonna be a 6/10 player. Ceballos has his good moments but he's far too slow at times on and off the ball.

That's the thing, a 6/10 player isn't given. As stated earlier, Willock doesn't even play the same position as Elneny, so not sure why he's discussed there. Willock as a 6 in a midfield two is a pipedream, he's got nowhere near the tactical level for that, and he just doesn't play that position. AMN doesn't look near ready for that either, in a team that goes and plays a bit (read: not WBA, a team that sits in a low-block and doesn't propose much football). Ceballos has better potential at his 24 years than AMN and Willock ever will, honestly. If this were an argument about raising potential players for the first-team it should really revolve around Ceballos (I understand, though, that he is not actually our property). Anyways, the kind of quality moments Ceballos showed yesterday, for example, are frankly just not in the possibilities of the quality of Willock and AMN.

I've seen enough of AMN and Willock to know they're better technicians than given credit. A bigger issue with both players is the lack of definition and conviction in certain phases of play
I think there is a bit of familiarity bias working here, with all due respect. What matters is the actual operating quality / technique. When we go and study and become familiar with a player we all find that they are capable of better technique or have shown better unique in training / lower levels, but in the end we have to judge them on the level they operate at in actual games, especially considering the competition. Again, AMN and Willock are players that didn't even get a look for the England youth teams...Ceballos is a player who was an absolute star and centerpiece of Euro cup winning Spanish youth sides, all the way up to U21, and who has been capped a number of times for Luis Enrique. There are levels and I think there needs to be a bit more perspective and counteracting of biases here sometimes with our homegrown players.
 

TromsoGooner

Obsessed With Hairspray
What higher table team has a defensive 8? I'm interested in what you would see as a good comp. for AMN, because I can't think of where he fits into a top team as a central midfielder. Casemiro is someone who has always been more of a real CM than him, he's limited in terms of quality like AMN but has always had more range of passing. Ndidi? He's an absolute defensive monster, no one is even close to his defensive level, it's an extremely optimistic comp. to think that AMN gets to that defensive level.



I totally get this argument when it applies. I just don't think it applies with limited talents like Willock and AMN. This could be a more interesting argument with Nelson and Willian / Pepe, IMO, because with Nelson you can actually see the potential to be a starting player at a top club, something that's really impossible to foresee for Willock and AMN. Tbf, though, it is very much a speculative argument there, too, and Nelson really is about 10x more likely to follow a career trajectory of Redmond or Demarai Gray than to have the other type we're talking about.



That's the thing, a 6/10 player isn't given. As stated earlier, Willock doesn't even play the same position as Elneny, so not sure why he's discussed there. Willock as a 6 in a midfield two is a pipedream, he's got nowhere near the tactical level for that, and he just doesn't play that position. AMN doesn't look near ready for that either, in a team that goes and plays a bit (read: not WBA, a team that sits in a low-block and doesn't propose much football). Ceballos has better potential at his 24 years than AMN and Willock ever will, honestly. If this were an argument about raising potential players for the first-team it should really revolve around Ceballos (I understand, though, that he is not actually our property). Anyways, the kind of quality moments Ceballos showed yesterday, for example, are frankly just not in the possibilities of the quality of Willock and AMN.


I think there is a bit of familiarity bias working here, with all due respect. What matters is the actual operating quality / technique. When we go and study and become familiar with a player we all find that they are capable of better technique or have shown better unique in training / lower levels, but in the end we have to judge them on the level they operate at in actual games, especially considering the competition. Again, AMN and Willock are players that didn't even get a look for the England youth teams...Ceballos is a player who was an absolute star and centerpiece of Euro cup winning Spanish youth sides, all the way up to U21, and who has been capped a number of times for Luis Enrique. There are levels and I think there needs to be a bit more perspective and counteracting of biases here sometimes with our homegrown players.
Casemiro limited in terms of quality? Really?
 

AbouCuéllar

Wishes to get banned elsewhere
Casemiro limited in terms of quality? Really?
Of course. No one has ever called Casemiro a good player in possession; it's his main weakness (not sure what is surprising about that statement, anyone who is familiar with Real Madrid at all knows this...). That said, he's a footballer who is superior to Willock and AMN in possession, without mentioning the fact that he is miles ahead of them tactically and as a ball-winner. This demonstrates the distance Willock and AMN would need to go to be a viable option for a bigger club... (basically, we're talking about a quite unrealistic and almost impossible to project level of growth).
 

Big Nate

Member
What higher table team has a defensive 8? I'm interested in what you would see as a good comp. for AMN, because I can't think of where he fits into a top team as a central midfielder. Casemiro is someone who has always been more of a real CM than him, he's limited in terms of quality like AMN but has always had more range of passing. Ndidi? He's an absolute defensive monster, no one is even close to his defensive level, it's an extremely optimistic comp. to think that AMN gets to that defensive level.



I totally get this argument when it applies. I just don't think it applies with limited talents like Willock and AMN. This could be a more interesting argument with Nelson and Willian / Pepe, IMO, because with Nelson you can actually see the potential to be a starting player at a top club, something that's really impossible to foresee for Willock and AMN. Tbf, though, it is very much a speculative argument there, too, and Nelson really is about 10x more likely to follow a career trajectory of Redmond or Demarai Gray than to have the other type we're talking about.



That's the thing, a 6/10 player isn't given. As stated earlier, Willock doesn't even play the same position as Elneny, so not sure why he's discussed there. Willock as a 6 in a midfield two is a pipedream, he's got nowhere near the tactical level for that, and he just doesn't play that position. AMN doesn't look near ready for that either, in a team that goes and plays a bit (read: not WBA, a team that sits in a low-block and doesn't propose much football). Ceballos has better potential at his 24 years than AMN and Willock ever will, honestly. If this were an argument about raising potential players for the first-team it should really revolve around Ceballos (I understand, though, that he is not actually our property). Anyways, the kind of quality moments Ceballos showed yesterday, for example, are frankly just not in the possibilities of the quality of Willock and AMN.


I think there is a bit of familiarity bias working here, with all due respect. What matters is the actual operating quality / technique. When we go and study and become familiar with a player we all find that they are capable of better technique or have shown better unique in training / lower levels, but in the end we have to judge them on the level they operate at in actual games, especially considering the competition. Again, AMN and Willock are players that didn't even get a look for the England youth teams...Ceballos is a player who was an absolute star and centerpiece of Euro cup winning Spanish youth sides, all the way up to U21, and who has been capped a number of times for Luis Enrique. There are levels and I think there needs to be a bit more perspective and counteracting of biases here sometimes with our homegrown players.
Absolutely agree with this. We cant be seriously saying that Willock and AMN have shown a higher ceiling than Ceballos, its not even comparable. Elneny is much more composed and consistent than AMN and Willock have ever shown. Saying we are 10th so play players that are worse really doesn't make sense, when playing Willock at CM made the team significantly worse earlier this season. The loans for both players was completely the right decision

With AMN I think its guaranteed he is leaving, he will not get the game time at Arsenal, especially not for our ambitions. Willock I think has a chance, he's obviously very good in training but he is too raw, but he might need another loan or just to move on before he can become a top player.

We have to remember that player development is much more than just giving the players game time until they magically become ready, the player has to be mentally ready both in terms of dealing with pressure and composure and confidence on the pitch and then play better than the current options when they do get their chance. The young talents that burst on to the scene always have qualities that improve the team immediately (while having areas they can improve on). AMN and Willock do not have qualities that improve the team, and thats fine, most players don't burst onto the scene and they need time to mature.
 

Big Nate

Member
Absolutely agree with this. We cant be seriously saying that Willock and AMN have shown a higher ceiling than Ceballos, its not even comparable. Elneny is much more composed and consistent than AMN and Willock have ever shown. Saying we are 10th so play players that are worse really doesn't make sense, when playing Willock at CM made the team significantly worse earlier this season. The loans for both players was completely the right decision

With AMN I think its guaranteed he is leaving, he will not get the game time at Arsenal, especially not for our ambitions. Willock I think has a chance, he's obviously very good in training but he is too raw, but he might need another loan or just to move on before he can become a top player.

We have to remember that player development is much more than just giving the players game time until they magically become ready, the player has to be mentally ready both in terms of dealing with pressure and composure and confidence on the pitch and then play better than the current options when they do get their chance. The young talents that burst on to the scene always have qualities that improve the team immediately (while having areas they can improve on). AMN and Willock do not have qualities that improve the team, and thats fine, most players don't burst onto the scene and they need time to mature.
Apologies if this came across as rude btw, it wasnt supposed to, we all want the best for our youth
 

GoonerJay24

Well-Known Member
He was disappointing last night against Leicester. Constantly gave away the ball and had slow reactions the whole game.

Unless he's willing to play at right-back, we should be trying to sell him.
 

AberGooner

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Interesting but before AMN made his debut with WBA they were dead last in xPoints which is the difference and xG and xG against.

Now though they’ve climbed up to 15th in that category since he’s been playing every game.
Teams noticeably can't bypass their midfield with him in the side now, the guy has a crazy engine. They where conceding for fun before he came into the side.
 

MutableEarth

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Interesting but before AMN made his debut with WBA they were dead last in xPoints which is the difference and xG and xG against.

Now though they’ve climbed up to 15th in that category since he’s been playing every game.
He's added a lot of energy to their midfield and has helped by plugging gaps. The other interesting thing is that his individual metrics - predictive and otherwise - have been quite average. This is partially because West Brom are not a great team but additionally he has struggles getting into the game. Like Willock, he gets few touches in midfield compared to the plodders in our midfield because at least they have a better idea of where to be.

I think this is something both AMN and Willock have to work on. They have to get more touches and make them count. Willock is at the very least making his touches count in the final 3rd.
 

Gooner416

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Interesting but before AMN made his debut with WBA they were dead last in xPoints which is the difference and xG and xG against.

Now though they’ve climbed up to 15th in that category since he’s been playing every game.
Pics or it didn't happen.
 
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