Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Alan Hutton Reacts To Potential Leeds United Target: Can He Make A Breakthrough At Elland Road?

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Jack O’Brien
A 22 y/o football nerd seeking my way into football writing. I love Irish football and also the Premier League. A huge Arsenal fan! Aside from writing, I like to spend my time fishing and drinking beer.

During an interview with Football Insider, Alan Hutton has dropped his verdict on Ainsley Maitland-Niles, the Leeds United target. The former Scottish professional thinks the Arsenal star may not have the desired skills Leeds need in order to step up their level next season.

“He’s done well but whether he’s going to come in and take Leeds to the next level, I don’t know. He’s still young, he’s still developing. He’s a good prospect to have in your squad. Whether he’ll come in and start to be the guy to take you to the next level, I’m not so sure.”, Hutton told Football Insider.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles’ Spell At West Brom

Ainsley Maitland-Niles joined West Brom in January in search of a regular game-time. He had fallen down the pecking order at Arsenal, despite his versatility, which made the move to Hawthorns all the more sensible.

The Englishman has since enjoyed a decent time under Sam Allardyce, becoming a first-team regular at West Brom. He has built a solid midfield partnership alongside Sam Gallagher and fellow new signing Okay Yokuslu, helping the Baggies make a steady recovery after a turbulent period under previous manager Slaven Bilic.

Maitland-Niles has offered the dynamism West Brom were desperately needing in midfield. In addition, the 23-year-old has shown excellent discipline, which is hardly surprisingly under Allardyce’s defensive astute tactical setup.

Alan Hutton has dropped his verdict on Ainsley Maitland-Niles - He has done well at West Brom.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles of West Bromwich Albion during the Premier League match at Stamford Bridge, London. Picture date: 3rd April 2021. Picture credit should read: David Klein/Sportimage PUBLICATIONxNOTxINxUK SPI-0985-0063

Is He A Good Option For Leeds United?

The potential arrival of Ainsley Maitland-Niles could make a world of sense for Leeds United next season. The Whites are already in desperate need of reinforcements in the midfield department, as they have indeed struggled without the presence of Kalvin Phillips. And that is where the Arsenal star could prove to be useful.

Although Maitland-Niles is quite different to Phillips in terms of style of play, he can offer competition in midfield, particularly to the likes of Mateusz Klich, Jamie Shackleton and even the in-form Stuart Dallas.

Alternatively, the Englishman can be utilised as a back-up not only for Luke Ayling at right-back but also on the opposite flank, for Ezgjan Alioski, whose contract at Elland Road expires at the end of the season.

Moreover, the 23-year-old’s pace, dynamism and aggression are ideal qualities that should definitely help him settle in quickly under the tactical philosophy of Bielsa. Maitland-Niles, therefore, could be an ideal addition for Leeds United this summer, although a lot could depend on how much Arsenal demand for their academy prospect.

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