Maitland-Niles, nominally a central midfielder, has been deputising at left-back for Arsene Wenger in Arsenal’s last three games against Chelsea and Nottingham Forest while Kolasinac recovers from an ankle injury he suffered in the 1-1 draw against West Brom on New Year’s Eve.
Kolasinac has been impressed with the impact the 20-year-old has made in his absence, highlighting his explosive pace as a potential weapon at Wenger’s disposal.
‘Ainsley’s done really well,’ Kolasinac told Arsenal’s official website. ‘He’s so quick and he reads the game well, so he knows what to do before the ball arrives. He’s shown that in the last couple of games.
‘I’ve spoken to him. I told him that he’s so quick – if I had that pace, I’d never stand still, I’d just run! When you’re that quick, it’s difficult to stop someone.
‘He has the acceleration and when he gets going, he’s tough to defend against. That can be a weapon for us.’
Kolasinac, who himself only joined Arsenal from Schalke in August 2017, credited teammate Nacho Monreal for helping him adapt successfully to life in the Premier League.
‘Nacho is such an important player for us, also because of his personality,’ Kolasinac added.
‘Nacho talks to me a lot on the pitch, he helps and guides me and he gives me license to go forward, because I know I’ve got someone behind me who can cover.
‘He does that and that really helps whoever plays on the left flank.’