Kieran Tierney is fast establishing himself as an indispensable member of Mikel Arteta’s resurgent Arsenal side following a turbulent start to his Gunners career.
Much was expected of the Scotland international following his £25million transfer from Celtic last summer, but the 23-year-old signed when he was still recovering from a double hernia operation.
Tierney made his belated debut in September but spent months on the sidelines after he dislocated his shoulder during a victory over West Ham while Freddie Ljungberg was in interim charge following the sacking of Unai Emery.
Now back to full fitness, Tierney has thrived as a wing-back in Arteta’s new-look 3-5-2 formation which has yielded a significant improvement in Arsenal’s recent performances.
Tierney has offered a significant attacking threat on Arsenal’s left flank and has contributed to a much more respectable defensive record.
His tenacity and relish for the physical battle hasn’t always endeared him to his team-mates, however, with ESPN reporting that several Arsenal stars asked him to tone down his aggressiveness during his first training sessions with his new club.
Arteta, however, is said to be a huge fan of Tierney’s attitude and commitment to the cause, while former Arsenal left-back Ashley Cole believes the player is fast becoming one of the most important members of this current Arsenal team.
Asked if he had been impressed with Tierney following Wednesday’s draw against Leicester he said: ‘Yeah I have. I think one thing that Arsenal were probably lacking in the past year was a left-back that was solid, didn’t get beaten in one-versus-one situations – he don’t get beat in one-v-one situations.
‘But I also think the way he attacks and the timing of his attacking runs, it brings a different element to Arsenal and a different way to attack.
‘And he’s got a great delivery on him, as we just saw earlier, a great ball in that ended up with a corner. So he’s been very good for Arsenal I think.’
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