After Emile Smith Rowe committed his future to Arsenal by signing a new long-term contract, Mikel Arteta was keen to talk about Kieran Tierney, another who has signed a new deal this summer.
There is no denying that Arsenal fans absolutely adore Kieran Tierney and it’s not hard to see why. In addition to being a very good player, he gives 100% every week, no matter the match nor the minute.
It’s no wonder Mikel Arteta loves him, too. The former Celtic ball boy, who graduated through their ranks to win titles with the senior team, has shown clearly why Arsenal were so persistent in their chase for him.
“Absolutely there is another character in this dressing room that transmits every value that I would like to transmit to the club and our fans [and it is Kieran],” Arteta told Arsenal Media.
“Again, it is young, hungry, talented, and people with huge desire and again he has all four ingredients – and he didn’t want to talk about anything other than staying here.
“He had a really, really good season after a really difficult start at the club and I really value people that when things aren’t going for them, they don’t give up. Kieran didn’t give up, he needed support and I think the club gave him a lot of support, but he was really willing to turn that situation around and prove people wrong if people were doubting him.
“That character, I think it shows on the pitch – when anything happens that is not going for us, you don’t give up, you just raise your level, try to be better and transmit that to the rest of the team so they all believe.
“Kieran has this capacity, and Emile as well, to lift the crowd with an action, Gabi Martinelli has this capacity – and this is something you either have or you don’t have.”
Kieran Tierney told Four Four Two that he loves it at Arsenal as the defender was getting ready to sign his new Arsenal deal.
Kieran Tierney was, incredibly, linked with a move away this summer but Arsenal fans knew that was unlikely to happen. Instead, one of the standout stars from Arsenal’s poor season committed his future to the club, signing a new deal until 2026 that comes with a pay rise of around £35kpw.
Speaking to Four Four Two before Scotland held England to a 0-0 draw, a game in which Tierney was the highest rated outfield player in the Scottish side, he was asked about how his life changed when he moved from Glasgow to London.
“Glasgow and London are completely different cities,” Tierney said. “Everything was new to me. It was doubly difficult because I was injured when I signed and taking a bit of stick back home for leaving Celtic.
“So, you have your moments when you miss your nearest and dearest. I didn’t know my team-mates too well at that stage, so it all adds up. There was a flicker of ‘what have I done?’ but that passed very quickly.
“I love it at Arsenal and I’m well looked-after. Time is also a healer and my love for Celtic will never change – I hope people realise that. The decision to leave was the hardest of my life.
“I knew that going to Arsenal was a massive jump and that it would challenge me in ways that wouldn’t even have occurred to me beforehand. It’s not been easy, and the transition off the park was a lot harder than it was on it, but having had a bit of breathing space to reflect on things, it’s made me a better player and a better person. That’s the main objective in life, isn’t it? To be the best version of yourself that you can be.”
He was also asked about that infamous Tesco shopping bag and his tendency to wear short sleeves and t-shirts, even when it’s snowing.
“When my mates from back home saw the picture of me with my boots in a carrier bag, they were straight onto me. They said I had changed, because I’d gone from Aldi and Lidl to Tesco! Everyone else commenting seemed to be talking about how refreshing it was, but my mates were slaughtering me. It wasn’t something I’d thought twice about.
“I had a pair of boots I had to take with me, and the only thing I had in the house was a Tesco bag. If they’re reading this, I’m still waiting on that endorsement deal! [Laughs]
“In terms of the t-shirts in cold weather, it’s as simple as wearing a jumper once for training when I was 15 and feeling restricted in it. I think it was snowing that night as well. I’ve worn t-shirts ever since and I’ve probably backed myself into a corner – if I suddenly went for a snood or some gloves, the medical team here would probably be concerned that I wasn’t feeling right…”
The news that Tierney agreed a five-year deal with Arsenal was greeted with universal approval from Arsenal fans, many of whom tip Tierney to become Arsenal captain sooner rather than later.
Kieran Tierney has a fantastic reading of the game and he’ll help Arsenal to finish in the top four, according to his former international boss Gordon Strachan.
Strachan managed Tierney as Scotland manager, giving the left-back his first international cap. Tierney won eight trophies and three PFA Player of the Year awards with Celtic during a hugely successful spell in Scotland before leaving for Arsenal.
It should come as no surprise that Strachan has a lot of praise for the player, one of the top players in his home country.
“Kieran is seriously a wonderful kid and his understanding of danger is magnificent,” Strachan said. “He reminds me of Van Dijk in that way. The first time I watched Virgil and Kieran play, I thought, ‘Are you lucky, or are you brilliant at reading the game?’.
“I’d love to see some analysis on how many times he intercepts or clears the ball in the box. He thinks like a forward, so he understands what they’re going to do.
“He’ll certainly help Arsenal get to the top four,” Strachan continued. “He’s more than just a good player — he has incredible spirit, strength, ability, and versatility, he’s perfect for Arsenal.
“He mostly played at left-back or wing-back for Celtic. But he can also play just as well at left centre-back or on the left of a three.”