Kevin Campbell fears Arsenal midfielder Ainsley Maitland-Niles has got complacent since his England call-up.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the former Gunners striker urged the 23-year-old, who “looks a bit lackadaisical”, to put his foot on the gas and work harder for a place in the team.
Maitland-Niles was dropped from the Premier League squad that beat Newcastle United on Monday, a shock given he had started the previous game against Crystal Palace.
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta revealed after the 3-0 win that the midfielder was not injured and instead suggested his omission was because he was not competing for his spot.
A product of the Gunners’ academy, Maitland-Niles has played at right-back, left-back and across the midfield in his 21 appearances this season.
When asked by Football Insider for his thoughts on Mikel Arteta’s comments, Campbell said: “There is always a reason why a manager has pulled a player out of the side.
“I know that Ainsley Maitland-Niles is a full international now, but the bottom line is – you have to compete. Just because he is an England international does not mean he can take his foot off the gas. It means you have to work even harder.
“That might be the way Maitland-Niles needs to be managed. He has been out of the squad before and he has come back firing. He did it last season, had a run of games and looked the part.
“It looks like he is a bit lackadaisical, like he does not grab the bull by the horns. Arteta might want him to be a bit more aggressive.
“I think this might be the way Arteta has to manage him. You cannot manage everyone the same.”