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West Brom loanee Ainsley Maitland-Niles loving straight-talking Sam Allardyce

Ainsley Maitland-Niles believes Sam Allardyce’s no-nonsense approach is turning him into a better player.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles (AMA)
Ainsley Maitland-Niles (AMA)

The 23-year-old has impressed in six outings for the Baggies since arriving on loan from Arsenal.

Having largely been deployed as a full-back or wing-back for the Gunners, Maitland-Niles is hoping to prove himself as a central midfielder in this time at The Hawthorns. And he says the straight-talking and honest approach of boss Allardyce is helping him improve.

“The gaffer is very honest and will tell you anything you need to hear,” Maitland-Niles said. “He is straight to the point with how he feels.

“So you can either put your head down and take the criticism as a negative, or you can take it in a positive way.

“He only says these things because he cares and because he wants to help us all improve. I love the direct approach he has.

“If he says what he wants from me, I will do my utmost to bring that out and show everyone my capabilities as quickly as possible.

“That is way better than beating around the bush and not saying anything at all. He can tell me what he thinks, pull me to one side or shout at me in front of everyone – it makes no difference to me.

“The important thing is to get that feedback straight. He hasn’t had to do any of that yet. And hopefully that won’t end up happening. Still, I’m prepared for it if it does.”

Maitland-Niles admits being given assurances he would play in central midfield was key to his move to The Hawthorns.

“Versatility can be a positive or a negative – it depends on your outlook,” he continued.

“Sometimes you’re stuck in the position where you’re waiting for a chance and you can play anywhere because of your versatility.

“Sometimes you become a main player straight away and it doesn’t affect you. But sometimes you can be caught out by it.

“I want to play in the centre of the pitch because I feel comfortable there and there’s a lot of things I can bring by playing in the middle.

“You can control the game from there and I think my attributes help me do that.

“This was a chance to show I’m capable in that midfield role rather than sitting on the bench all season.”

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