Kieran Tierney has travelled south with a big reputation but enough people asking if he can transfer his skills from the Scottish Premier League to the English one…so, can he?
It’s easy to dismiss footballers who come from north of the border as coming from an inferior league but if that was the case, given the inflated sense of self-importance the Premier League has, no club would buy players from anywhere outside it.
Besides, have we all forgot about Virgil van Dijk already?
Arsenal fans everywhere should be excited to see what Tierney can deliver because the tones with which he’s talked about in Scotland are not just complimentary, they’re downright worshipy.
Like this from John Collins, who was assistant coach when Tierney broke through, who told the Sunday Post, “Kieran’s talent was very obvious to Ronny [Delia, manager at Celtic] and I, and we could tell that after just one training session.
“At the time, he wasn’t even getting a regular game with the youth team, but you could see he had qualities.
“We wanted to get him in with us to get a closer look.
“After that initial session, we had the coaches debrief and we all said: ‘ Wow, he’s a player’.
“He could run, he could tackle, he could sprint, had a great attitude, he was good on the ball and wasn’t fazed.
“He treated a game of five- a- sides during that session like it was a World Cup Final. “We knew he was worthy of an opportunity, and we wanted to get him in to see how he coped in the first- team environment on a match day.
“Emilio Izaguirre was the first- choice left- back, and was a fans’ favourite.
“So we took a little bit of stick for putting Kieran in.
“He didn’t let anyone down, however, and it didn’t take long for the fans to see that the kid was going to have an excellent future.
“Well, he has certainly gone on to do just that.
“I’m not surprised to see his progression, and the contribution he has made to Celtic in the past four years.
“When he was with us, he just wanted to get better and better and had a great attitude.
“He was out on the training ground doing extra sessions, and working on developing his game when he was in possession.
“Frankly, he is a coach’s dream.
“I have no doubt that he is more than ready to make the step- up to the demands of the domestic game in England.
“He will absolutely be able to cope at the highest level there.
“He will thrive on it all, and excel.
“Being able to defend properly is an art, and Kieran knows how to do it.
“He gets his distances perfect when he is facing a winger. He never lets the winger turn and get at him.
“He closes down quickly, and loves contact with a winger.
“I’ve seen it close- hand, against some top, top players.
“Trust me, wingers – yes, the very best of them – will not enjoy playing against Kieran.
“He can defend and he can also go forward and join in on the attack. His overlapping runs are first- class, and his deliveries are mouthwatering.
“He has gone for £ 25m, and that is a very good transfer fee for Celtic.
“But it also an excellent piece of business for Arsenal. When you look at the market in England some of the fees players are bought and sold for, there is no doubt in my mind that
“Arsenal have done very well out of this signing.”
Unfortunately, we’re going to have to wait to see him in action in an Arsenal shirt as he’s expected to be out for the next six weeks or so.