His Injury Record Is Not as Bad as the Media Suggests
One of the major stumbling blocks regarding Arsenal’s move for Tierney is his injury record. However, the full back has been impressively durable and a player Celtic lean on in all competitions.
Tierney himself turned out a whopping 60 times for club and country during the 2017/18 season, despite not always being fully fit; this is a figure which even eclipses national team rival Andy Roberson, who played only 56 times times this season despite reaching the final of the Champions League.
And the season just past, Tierney delayed a double hernia operation to play for his club in crucial games against Aberdeen.
Given that Arsenal would not only have less games per season than Celtic, but also a longer summer break, it is likely that Tierney would spend a lot less time on the sidelines at the London club as they would be able to manage his games with more high quality players in the squad. Therefore, his injury record should not be a stumbling block in the way of any potential move.
He’s Surprisingly Versatile
Despite playing exclusively at left back for Celtic over the last four years, Tierney has often found himself moved to more unfamiliar roles when playing for the Scottish national team due to the emergence of Andy Robertson as one of the world’s top defenders.
Not wanting to leave one of the nation’s best talents out of the side, managers such as Gordon Strachan and Alex McLeish have often moved Tierney to other parts of the defence in an effort to solve the ‘left back problem’, and in every position he’s played in, the 22-year-old has impressed.
Tierney was particularly effective at both right back and central defence for his nation in the second portion of Scotland’s 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign with the country going unbeaten in the last six games of their group. In fact, Scotland only missed out on a place in the playoffs due to a terrible start. When Tierney was brought into the side, he made a huge difference, and notably impressed at centre back against England.
Other Former Celtic Players Have Excelled in the Premier League
With the emergence of Virgil van Dijk and Andy Robertson as world class talents, Scottish teams are now known for producing genuine world class talent.
Celtic, in particular, have proved they are a great market place for top Premier League sides. While not as successful as Van Dijk, other former Celtic starters such as Victor Wanyama and Fraser Forster have also managed to comfortably make the step up and have gone on to play over 100 games each in the English top flight.
With these players excelling, it’s easy to see Tierney also making the step up.
He Is Already a Top Class Talent (and He’s Getting Better and Better)
The big reason why Tierney is worth £25m is of course though, his footballing ability.
A tough tackling full back who also chips in with his fair share of goals and assists, Kieran Tierney has improved year upon year since making his debut for Celtic in 2015.
Starting off in the team he was immediately a stand-out in a side who were struggling at the time, and was trusted enough by Ronny Deila to be thrown straight into a Europa League fixture against Fenerbahce aged 18, having played only four games previously.
However, after improving slowly under the watch of Deila, it was with the arrival of Brendan Rodgers that Tierney took his game to the next level. A solid full back who could mark anyone out of the game, Tierney was very one footed, lacking physique and still not confident enough to get forward whenever he could under Deila.
In the three years since then though, Tierney has ironed out all of those issues to become an excellent all-round player, and is now able to play right back and centre back for Scotland due to his two footed ability. His physique has also improved massively and while under Deila he still looked like a youth team player, as soon as Rodgers entered the door, Tierney appeared to bulk up overnight.
In terms of goals and assists, those have also come in abundance with Rodgers giving him the freedom to run forward. Therefore, while to took him until the final game under Ronny Deila to register a goal for the club, he has managed to score some fantastic strikes for Rodgers and is always a danger with the ball outside the box with both his delivery and his scoring ability.
When you add all of this natural footballing ability to the passion Tierney has for the game, then you almost have the complete footballer.
Scott Brown once famously said that Tierney would tackle his own grandmother to win the ball back, and this is not too far away from the truth. He is the archetypal passionate, tough tackling Scottish full back with the technical ability of a continental defender and a player who could improve even more if he plays with a higher standard of player on a regular basis.
He would undoubtedly strengthen Arsenal at the back and would only get better the longer he stayed there.
Source : 90min