Arsenal

Kieran Tierney reveals who he scouts for new Arsenal role – and it’s not Oleksandr Zinchenko

Kieran Tierney has been adapting to a new role at Arsenal this season following the arrival from Oleksandr Zinchenko in the summer transfer window

Much has changed for Kieran Tierney at Arsenal this season.

From once being considered an automatic starter in Mikel Arteta’s strongest XI when everyone is fit and available for selection as well as being tipped to be named the next Gunners captain following the departures of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette, things haven’t quite gone to plan.

Not only did Martin Odegaard get the armband at the beginning of the season, but it also seems that Tierney has dropped down the pecking order within the leadership group as Granit Xhaka and £45million summer signing Gabriel Jesus are the immediate understudies to the Norway international.

Furthermore, the arrival of Oleksandr Zinchenko from Manchester City has resulted in the Scotland international no longer being a guaranteed starter when fit, with Arteta also opting for a change of tactic in the left-back position.

Arsenal now use inverted full-backs on both flanks. Although whilst Ben White, Takehiro Tomiyasu and Zinchenko were already well suited to this style of play, Tierney has had to make adjustments and to his credit, he is adapting very quickly based on his last two outings against FC Zurich and Brentford.

As discussed by football.london, the 25-year-old produced one of the best performances of the season in the Europa League clash as he received regular instructions from Arteta throughout, with his heatmap average passing position showing how comfortable he was operating as an inverted full-back.

With that said, even with Arteta’s coaching at his disposal as well as having Zinchenko to learn from in training Tierney has joked that he is taking tips from Greg Taylor – his replacement at Celtic in the summer of 2019 – to help him get a greater understanding of his new role.

“Aye, brilliant. Inverted full-back, that’s how we play down there. I watch him every week, trying to take tips from him,” Tierney revealed, as per Football Scotland before going on to heap praise on his teammate. “It’s brilliant to see him doing so well because he’s a great guy.

“I’m really close to him, I speak to him a lot. So yeah, I’m buzzing for him. We watch each other’s games, always, and text each other as well. It’s a new role for me and it’s a role where he’s really comfortable in. It’s great to watch him and he’s been one of Celtic’s best players this season.”

Tierney was replaced by Taylor during the closing stages of Scotland’s 3-0 UEFA Nations League win over Ukraine on Wednesday night with many Arsenal supporters left impressed with the defender’s performance which confirmed he is ‘miles ahead’ of Liverpool’s Andy Robertson who missed the game through injury.

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