By Emma Sanders

Emerging Arsenal star Gedion Zelalem has hailed his midfield partnership with Ainsley Maitland-Niles.

Zelalem, 19, has been a regular in the Arsenal Under-23s squad this season alongside Mailand-Niles.

The duo line-up in the centre of midfield for the Gunners’ youth side after emerging together though the club;s ranks.

“We’ve been playing together since we were 15 or 16. We know each other well and we know what we can do,” Zelalem told the club’s official Arsenal Player.

“He’s a bit more defensive, I like to get on the ball and pass it forward but our partnership is very good.

“He can also do the attacking bit, so we have a good partnership. It’s not just me and Ainsley, the whole team is a part of that,” he added.

Arsenal’s youngsters were held to a frustrating goalless draw against Southampton on Friday.

They dictated the game though and dominated possession in midfield, with the duo providing the anchorage to Arsenal’s free-flowing football.

Zelalem joined the club in July 2013, while Maitland-Niles joined in July 2014 and the two have notched up over 50 senior team appearances between them whilst on loan last season.

Arsenal have a strong academy set-up and Zelalem has already made three first team appearances for the club.

He was included in the side which defeated Nottingham Forest in the Capital One Cup earlier this season and so was Maitland-Niles.

Zelalem also enjoyed a successful loan spell at Rangers last season, making 21 first team league appearances, including 15 starts.

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