Kieran Tierney has revealed that he dislocated his shoulder three times before being substituted in the December win over West Ham United.
The Scot has endured an incredibly frustrating first season at Arsenal, joining with a groin problem that delayed his debut and then, post-surgery, spending another 10 weeks on the sidelines before getting fit just as the coronavirus outbreak forced everyone at the club into self-isolation.
When the season does resume – and nobody knows exactly when that will be – the right-back will no doubt be hoping to make his mark. For the time being, he’s been left reminiscing about a very painful night at the London Stadium.
Speaking to Sport Bible (relayed by the Daily Record), Tierney said: “The night at West Ham was a hard one for me with a dislocated shoulder in the first ten minutes and straight away you know what you have done.
“And then another ten minutes later I done the same thing again but I landed differently.
“Then it was a set piece and my arm just went into a position where it wasn’t comfortable at all and dislocated.
“Mentally it was probably the toughest time of my life. In my head I was thinking, ‘I need an operation now’. I knew.
“Three times in ten minutes, nobody’s shoulder should be going like that. So in my head as I was lying down I was thinking, ‘That’s me out for another few months’.
“I knew that devastation straight away and I think you can see it on my face.
“Being injured at the start of my Arsenal career was hard. Mentally it was probably the toughest time of my life.”
With light at the end of the tunnel (if you ignore the other darkness enveloping us all), Tierney appears to be feeling positive about the way he’s used his time on the sidelines. Not only does he think he’ll be in better physical shape, he’s also been studying opponents and his teammates.
“There’s always things you can do and there is always ways you can improve yourself although it’s not on the pitch or with the ball you are still improving yourself and your physique and every day you are injured you are improving your mentality as well.
“Watching from the sidelines is never easy but you need to take every positive you can out of it.
“I’ll be watching who is playing in my position, who I’d be playing against and how the team are playing so when I do get integrated back into training games it’s like second nature and I know the way the team play, how they want to play and how the manager wants to do his things.
“It’s never ideal sitting on the sideline watching but I just want the team to win and be successful.
“Everybody loves going out and playing football but to be mentally tough and to deal with all these obstacles and hurdles that people throw at you, it’s the hardest part but when you get to the other side it’s the most rewarding part.”