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Maitland-Niles given brutal warning by Arteta to leave Arsenal future in doubt

Ainsley Maitland-Niles’ Arsenal future is back in question after he was dumped from Monday night’s win over Newcastle and then brutally and publicly criticised by Mikel Arteta.

The England international, who starred in the club’s FA Cup success last season, has been a bit-part player this term, having seen the club reject a £20million approach from Wolves during the summer transfer window.

But Maitland-Niles had been in the Gunners starting lineup for last week’s goalless draw with Crystal Palace, deputising for the absent Kieran Tierney.

However, he was hauled off during the second half as Arteta made attacking changes in his quest to claim victory.

On Monday night, with Tierney back and Cedric Soares starting at right-back in place of Hector Bellerin, Maitland-Niles didn’t even make the matchday squad.

And post-game, Arteta had some damning words for the 23 year-old having been unhappy with his demeanour in training in previous days.

Maitland-Niles didn’t even make the squad for the win over Newcastle

Asked about his absence, and whether there isn’t a place in the team for him, Arteta responded: “He needs to compete for his place like everybody else.

“There’s been a lot of players who have been left out of the squad and had less minutes.

“Ainsley has played some minutes in the league, a lot of minutes in the Europa, the FA Cup, semi-finals and finals for us.

“It’s about him, his performances and how much he wants to be in the team.”

It is not the first team Arteta has questioned the desire of Maitland-Niles.

Last March, having been left unhappy with the player during a team training retreat to Dubai the previous month, Arteta claimed he needed to “put his head down and work hard”.

In October, Maitland-Niles spoke of the issue, declaring: “He demanded more from me than I was demanding from myself.”

If that is now the case once more, then it will be interesting to see what part Maitland-Niles plays in the coming weeks.

Arteta has been ruthless with players before, most notably Mesut Ozil and Matteo Guendouzi, and has no issue wielding the axe on a permanent basis.

The Gunners will meet Southampton or Shrewsbury in the FA Cup fourth round this weekend.

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