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West Brom manager Allardyce surprised by Arsenal loanee Maitland-Niles

West Bromwich Albion manager Sam Allardyce admits he was surprised by Ainsley Maitland-Niles' desire to play in midfield.

The Arsenal loanee, who primarily played as a wing-back, has thrived as a central midfielder for the Baggies this season.

And Allardyce revealed it was Maitland-Niles' wish to play midfield which drove him to leave Arsenal for West Brom.

"I spoke to Ainsley and asked him where do you want to play and what is your favourite position?" Allardyce said, via the Express & Star.

"The reason Ainsley chose West Brom was because he said: 'I play in midfield I want to play in midfield, I don't want to play at full-back.

"That was a little bit surprising to me because he has played a lot for Arsenal at full-back and he's actually played for England there.

"But he said midfield is his favourite position and that is where wants to be.

"I said I can't 100 per cent guarantee that is where you are going to play.

"But I told him that is where he will start and that, like everybody else, his performances will determine whether or not he stays in that position and in the team.

"His performances have grown over the last few weeks.

"I believe he is enjoying his football.

"Even in these difficult times he is enjoying being a first-team member and playing on a regular basis. And he has, over the last 10, 11, 12 games, helped improve our performances.

"It's just a shame we haven't got the wins we would have liked."

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