Arsenal’s Kieran Tierney comes out fighting with message to boss Mikel Arteta
The Gunners left back was handed a start in place of the injured Andrew Robertson for Scotland’s 3-0 victory over Ukraine in the Nations League on Wednesday
Kieran Tierney showed Mikel Arteta just why he should be considered as Arsenal ’s first choice left back with a stunning display in Scotland’s 3-0 victory over Ukraine in the UEFA Nations League on Wednesday.
The 25-year-old started from the off following an injury to national team captain and Liverpool defender Andrew Robertson, who is Steve Clarke’s natural first choice on the left, but staked his own claim for a consistent starting spot with an impressive showing.
Tierney has lost his starting spot to summer signing Oleksandr Zinchenko this season, who was also ruled out for Ukraine, but has now given Arteta food for thought over restoring the Scotsman to his starting lineup on a more consistent basis.
The 25-year–old has started in place of the injured Zinchenko in four of Arsenal’s eight fixtures this season, three in the Premier League, but despite being second choice has given a great audition to reclaim his starting spot under Arteta.
Helping Scotland to keep a clean sheet on Wednesday was the most important thing, but his individual performance warranted a standing ovation from those inside Hampden Park as he was substituted in the 86th minute with the game already won.
His lack of game time this season certainly didn’t show as he put in a relentless performance that included keeping highly-rated Arsenal target Mykhaylo Mudryk quiet for the majority of the evening, and received plenty of praise from fans of both Scotland and the Gunners on social media.
Scotland’s 3-0 victory, courtesy of Aston Villa skipper John McGinn’s strike and a brace from substitute Lyndon Dykes, puts them in the driving seat to finish top of Nations League Group B1 and earn promotion to League A, following three wins from four games.
Two remaining fixtures against Republic of Ireland at Hampden Park on Saturday and Ukraine once more away from home on Tuesday will help to seal their fate, and Tierney is set to take centre stage for both ties in the continued absence of Robertson.
As well as Scotland, though, Tierney has also provided a huge boost for Arsenal by showing good form on the national stage. The Gunners are likely to rotate a lot this season – especially in the coming weeks due to their hectic schedule. Injuries could always see Zinchenko move into his alternative position in midfield should Arteta’s selection problems worsen, following recent issues for Thomas Partey, Mohamed Elneny and Martin Odegaard.
While Arteta hasn’t been able to provide Tierney with as much action as he’d like, his duties for Scotland are helping to keep him fit and firing ahead of his return to domestic action next week.
Tierney was Arsenal’s first choice left back last season but made just 25 appearances in all competitions after missing the final 10 games of the season with a knee injury. His absence showed as the Gunners lost five of those fixtures to miss out on a top four finish, which proved just how much he brings to the table.