GUTTED Arsenal star Ainsley Maitland-Niles was filmed surveying the wreck of his £105,000 car after flipping it on the M25.
The 23-year-old had a lucky escape after his Mercedes G-Wagon tipped onto its side following a smash with another car on the busy motorway on Wednesday morning.
An Arsenal spokesperson said: “We’re aware of a car accident involving Ainsley Maitland-Niles. Ainsley is unhurt and at home.”
The Gunners starlet was spotted sat on his phone at the side of the road in the moments after the shocking crash which led to rush hour tailbacks between junctions 23 and 25.
Footage from a passing car showed Maitland-Niles looking glum – adding to the misery of missing out on Gareth Southgate’s Three Lions squad after his England first-team call-up last year.
A source said: “It was a shocking accident and looked like complete carnage at the scene.
“As we were passing by we were amazed to seen Maitland-Niles at the side of the road. It looked like he was OK – he was sat there on his phone but his car was a mess.
“I think he’s had a lucky escape that’s for sure. I’d imagine he was petrified thinking about what it could have meant for his career.”
Police, paramedics and firefighters all attended the smash at about 7.30am.
The elderly driver of the other car was also seen out of her vehicle and being supported by firefighters in the moments after the smash.
Rumours that the England international had been at the wheel had been circulating on WhatsApp and social media all day.
Arsenal’s club doctor is reported to have called Maitland-Niles after the incident to check on his welfare, with the Londoner unhurt.
Maitland-Niles has been hailed for his versatility and is able to play left and right back and in a central midfield position.
He’s made 64 appearances for the Gunners, scoring just once.
Last season saw the youngster move to West Brom on loan where he played 12 times for the doomed Baggies.
His Arsenal future is now in doubt as he seeks for reassurances from the north London club about his role.
A Met Police spokesman said: “Police were called at approximately 6.10am to reports of two cars in collision on the M25 anticlockwise carriageway at junction 25.
“Officers and London Ambulance Service attended. There were no reports of any injuries and enquiries into the circumstances are ongoing.”
Maitland-Niles has five caps for England but did not make Southgate’s 26-man squad for Euro 2020.
Earlier this month, he had said he is ready to “kiss Arsenal goodbye”.
He joined the club aged six and progressed through the youth ranks before making his debut in 2014.
But after a good campaign in 2019-20, Maitland-Niles found himself out of Mikel Arteta’s plans.
He revealed he joined West Brom in January to stop himself from “rotting away” on the bench.
He told the Telegraph: “If I was to get a phone call from someone at Arsenal and they said they’d like a meeting tomorrow, then it would be easier that way.
“They can tell me whether they’ve got plans to play me in the future or if they want to sell me.
“I’ve heard they want to make some space [in the squad] and some money so I’m not sure.”
He added: “I want a decision. I want some clarity. And then hopefully I can get to work with whoever I need to get to work with.
“Whether that is finding a new club or whether that is carrying on with my training. I would like some kind of indication of what is happening. Where they [Arsenal] see me.
“If it works out it works out, if it doesn’t then kiss Arsenal goodbye. It’s been a long journey but a proud one at that.
“Maybe they still want to do something and things could change. If not, there’s always other teams.
“It would be easier to do it now than waiting for pre-season to kick in and everything is super busy.
“And they can’t answer their phones because they are doing too much work. You know how the football world works.”
⚽ Read our Football live blog for the very latest news from around the grounds