Maitland-Niles praises Sterling for speaking out
Arsenal midfielder Ainsley Maitland-Niles has praised Raheem Sterling for speaking out following the alleged racist abuse the Manchester City star was subjected to in last Saturday's loss at Chelsea.
Sterling was berated by a section of Chelsea fans during City's 2-0 Premier League defeat at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea suspended four people from attending their matches pending an investigation, the club and the Metropolitan Police launching probes into whether the England international was racially abused by supporters.
In an Instagram post on Sunday, Sterling drew contrasts between media coverage of black and white footballers in the United Kingdom – a disparity he feels "helps fuel racism and aggressive behaviour".
That stance has won widespread support and Ainsley Maitland-Niles has joined those backing the former Liverpool man, while revealing his own experiences of racism from playing for Arsenal at youth level.
"It is disgusting. It happened to me before in youth football, similar to what happened with Raheem," Maitland-Niles said.
"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.
"I only thought they were doing it because I was having a good game. It is one way of them knocking me off my game and making me feel uncomfortable.
"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."