Ainsley Maitland-Niles has revealed that Paul Pogba sought him out to dish out some advice after Manchester United beat Arsenal last season.
United won the game 2-1 thanks to an injury-time Marouane Fellaini goal in Arsene Wenger’s last ever trip to Old Trafford as Gunners boss.
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Maitland-Niles was just 20-years-old at the time but played the full 90 minutes and put in an impressive display despite the late defeat.
His performance clearly caught the eye of Pogba who approached him after the final whistle to pass on some advice.
‘He said to me that I need to keep working hard,’ Maitland-Niles told Sky Sports. ‘He enjoyed playing against me and that was it really.
‘He just told me to keep going and gave me some words of advice which was nice.’
Developing a relentless work ethos was sounds advice from Pogba as Maitland-Niles confirms that is exactly what Unai Emery wants from him at Arsenal.
‘Unai Emery expecting more from me makes me work 10 times harder every day. I know that he’s watching me and I know he wants more than what I’m producing.
‘For me, it’s never enough, I need to do more constantly and I’ll just become a work horse from doing that.’
The 21-year-old has made just six Premier League appearances this season after fracturing his leg at the start of the campaign.
However, he has returned to the first team and has singled out scoring his first goal against Liverpool as a highlight of his career so far, despite the game finishing in a 5-1 defeat.
‘There are a lot of ups and downs in football,’ he said. ‘Scoring my first professional goal against Liverpool [is my highlight].
‘It was soured very soon after, though. I was heartbroken after the game to be honest.’
His display at Anfield did draw praise from club legend Ian Wright, though, who said: ‘[Ainsley] Maitland-Niles and [Alex] Iwobi did very well. I’m just trying to find positives but there’s a lot of work to be done.’