Everyone’s favorite Scotsman Kieran Tierney returned to Arsenal training today. Scotland played their last Euro 2020 match three weeks ago, lost to Croatia, and did not get out of their group. I’d expected him to be on holiday a bit longer. I believe players are supposed to have five weeks break, but given that the training camp is in his native Scotland, it makes sense that he’d want to be there. Also, it’s Kieran Tierney so getting back at it quickly fits with our mythos of his ethos.
For my money, Tierney is one of Arsenal’s two most important players, the other is Bukayo Saka. We saw firsthand what happened to the Gunners’ attack when Tierney was out of the lineup, and it wasn’t pretty. It’s critical that he stay healthy this season. Hopefully the lighter workload that comes from not being in a continental competition for the first time in 25 years will keep him better rested and fit. The addition of a true backup left back in Nuno Tavares who can (hopefully) rotate without Arsenal losing too much attacking threat should also help.
It’s the year of the outside back — the Euros taught us that with Spinazzola, Gosens, Dumfries, Luke Shaw, and others being a significant feature or even the focal point of their respective attacks. Kieran Tierney does that for Arsenal and is one of the best in the business at it. I think people outside of Arsenal have started to realize how good he is from his performances at the Euros, even though he was playing a bit more central of a role for Scotland.
We’re all already on the Kieran Tierney bandwagon, but I think we’re going to have to make some room for newcomers. He’s going to have a big year, and he’ll be in the conversation for Premier League team of the year at left back. I’m calling it now. You’re on notice, Andy Robertson and Luke Shaw.