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Arsenal's Ainsley Maitland-Niles: I suffered racial abuse when I was 12

English Premier League: Lucas Torreira (83') Arsenal 1-0 Huddersfield

Arsenal's Ainsley Maitland-Niles has joined Raheem Sterling in speaking out about racism, praising the Manchester City winger for standing up for himself after he claimed to have been racially abused at Stamford Bridge.

The 21-year-old midfielder said he was subjected to the same kind of incident when he was "about 12" and playing a youth game for Arsenal in Germany.

"It was similar to what Raheem got to be honest," Maitland-Niles told a news conference ahead of Arsenal's final Europa League group game. "Literally went out to pick up the ball for a throw-in and there was a bit of racial abuse behind me.

"It hurts to talk about it, it hurts to think about it, but that's why I think it's so important that we need to get rid of it in the game.

"I think it's disgusting honestly, and I really do credit Raheem for coming out and standing up for himself and other players and speaking about it. Raheem is a good brave lad for doing it."

Meanwhile, Arsenal captain Laurent Koscielny will make his first start of the season on Thursday against Qarabag, while Mesut Ozil is also back fit and available for the Europa League game, coach Unai Emery has confirmed.

Koscielny has played two games with the under-23s after returning from a torn Achilles tendon and is set for his first Arsenal appearance since May in Thursday's game.

Ozil could also play his first game in a month after recovering from a back problem, although Emery hinted he will field a team full of youth players for what is essentially a meaningless game, with Arsenal having already secured first place in the group.

"We are going to use tomorrow with some different players, with some coming from U23s," he said. "We also start to play with Laurent Koscielny.

"Tomorrow [Ozil] is in the group, the 18 players for this match. We are going to decide if he will play tomorrow from the beginning or during the 90 minutes."

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