Speaking exclusively to Football FanCast, former Southampton midfielder Carlton Palmer feels managers need a player like Arsenal’s Ainsley Maitland-Niles.
Maitland-Niles, who spent the second half of last season on loan at West Brom, is an extremely versatile player and has shown as much at both the Midlands outfit and his parent club, for whom Martin Keown described him as a “Rolls-Royce of a player” back in December.
During that spell with West Brom, he was used in central midfield, attacking midfield and out wide, while at Arsenal, he has played at both full-back positions (per Transfermarkt).
The 23-year-old is now being linked with a move to Southampton, with the Mirror reporting that the Saints are ready to do battle with Watford for his signature.
For Palmer, the above makes him a very useful asset, though it is something the player himself may not like.
“You always like players like [James] Milner who can play in a multitude of positions. Managers need players like that,” the ex-Southampton star exclusively told FFC. “It’s not so great for the player, because you want to progress.
“But it’s nice. You pick up an injury at left-back, you can chuck him in at left-back. You pick up an injury in midfield, you can chuck him on in midfield.”
Ultimately, you can see why Ralph Hasenhuttl would want a player like Maitland-Niles in his squad.
But given that the England international has recently spoken about his desire to play in midfield, he may now be at a point in his career where he wants to develop in one position rather than be used everywhere.