Back in the summer, former Scotland manager, Gordon Strachan, was singing Kieran Tierney’s praises before Arsenal’s FA Cup final game at Wembley against Chelsea.
The former Celtic man has done nothing but impress since arriving at Arsenal despite his initial injury problems.
At the time, rumour had it that Arsenal, due to injuries to other players, had been training with Tierney at centreback, a position he has already played for club and country.
But Gordon Strachan, who managed Scotland between 2013 and 2017, had no worries about him. “He has the type of mind that allows him to think that whatever he tries will come off. He has complete faith in himself and it’s totally justified,” Strachan told the Daily Mail.
“I played him at three positions for Scotland. Left back, left of three centre backs and also right back.
“My two best players were left backs — Kieran and Andy Robertson — so I shifted Kieran across. He never complained. He just got on with it. That’s how good he is and that’s how good his attitude is.
“He has what I call that lunatic mentality, and I mean that in a good way,” added Strachan.
“He was like Scott Brown at Celtic. It gets cold in Glasgow you know but those two would walk around with just their T-shirts on.
“Kieran has a first-class approach. He listens and takes in information and, crucially, he listens to what you are telling other players too so that he understand their roles also.
“He is bright and he smells danger, just like Virgil van Dijk does at Liverpool. He isn’t in that class yet but there are similarities.
“And he backs himself. He is brave like that. Many full backs or central defenders won’t push out on to a winger, for example. They are happy to let them cross. At least they can’t get beaten or embarrassed that way.
“Kieran won’t do that. He will get out there and say, “If you are gonna cross this, you will have to get by me first”.”
Strachan opted to play Tierney in a back three when Scotland faced England as he wanted a defender confident enough to deal with Dele Alli. He certainly got that, as Arsenal fans have learned this season.
Still only 23, Tierney has already won the Scottish FA Cup twice with Celtic. And, of course, the FA Cup with Arsenal.
During the final in 2017 against Aberdeen, his first cup final win, he was injured so badly he had to be taken to A&E where his mouth required surgery.
He needed the emergency dental work after a stray elbow from Aberdeen’s Jayden Stockley caught his jaw. Once that was done, Tierney then jumped in a taxi and made it back in time to collect the trophy.
The defender had, apparently, stayed in his kit the whole time.
He said: “I honestly couldn’t feel much. I had just had an operation which meant an anaesthetic.
“But I’ve watched the moment when I lift the Cup a few times and it’s brilliant. It felt like a fairy-tale for me getting up the stairs in time to do that.
“I literally just got back into the stadium, looked up and there were only a couple of people still waiting to lift the trophy.
“So, I just ran up the stairs. Everything happens for a reason in life. For me, to get back there on time was just brilliant.
“I had been running through the car park in my boots, so I got a bit of abuse from Aberdeen fans. But I was just so happy. I had heard on the radio we had scored in the last minute, so I was full of emotion.”