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Arsenal star Ainsley Maitland-Niles bravely speaks out about racism: ‘It’s disgusting – it hurts to talk about it’

PUBLISHED: 14:45 12 December 2018 | UPDATED: 14:50 12 December 2018

Arsenal's Ainsley Maitland-Niles during the UEFA Europa League, Group E match at the Emirates Stadium, London. PA

Arsenal's Ainsley Maitland-Niles during the UEFA Europa League, Group E match at the Emirates Stadium, London. PA

PA Archive/PA Images

Ainsley Maitland-Niles has been speaking courageously about his experiences of racism. Read on for Layth Yousif’s report from London Colney.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles of Arsenal during the Europa League match at the Emirates Stadium. Picture by Martyn Haworth.
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08/11/2018Ainsley Maitland-Niles of Arsenal during the Europa League match at the Emirates Stadium. Picture by Martyn Haworth. 07463250714 08/11/2018

Arsenal starlet Maitland-Niles has been sharing his experiences of being racially abused as a youngster.

Maitland-Niles faced the media on Wednesday afternoon at London Colney ahead of Arsenal’s clash with Qarabag in the Europa League on Thursday evening at the Emirates.

The 21-year-old – who has been associated with the club since he was six years old – bravely revealed he has faced the same racism Raheem Sterling suffered at the weekend during Manchester City’s defeat to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

The England U21 star said: “It is disgusting. It happened to me before in youth football, similar to what happened with Raheem.

Arsenal's Ainsley Maitland-Niles.Arsenal's Ainsley Maitland-Niles.

“I went out to take a throw in and there was racial abuse behind me.

“I was at Arsenal at the time, It was an away trip to Germany. I spoke to my dad and he gave me the heads up.”

Sterling has received support from many areas inside and outside the game following the incident after sharing his thoughts on his Instagram account, with Maitland-Niles believing the game and society could be reaching a tipping point in turning attitudes against racism.

Maitland-Niles said he was around 12 at the time of the incident, adding: “It is one way of them knocking me off my game and making me feel uncomfortable.

Arsenal's Ainsley Maitland-Niles (back) and Newcastle United's Matt Ritchie battle for the ball during the Premier League match at the Emirates Stadium, London.PAArsenal's Ainsley Maitland-Niles (back) and Newcastle United's Matt Ritchie battle for the ball during the Premier League match at the Emirates Stadium, London.PA

“I really credit Raheem for coming out and speaking about it.

“It hurts to talk about it but it is so important to get rid of it from the game.”

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