After Tuesday’s 1-1 draw with Leicester, Kieran Tierney was very open about how he’d benefitted from the Covid-19 lockdown claiming he now feels more settled in London and at Arsenal.
Fully fit after the dislocated shoulder suffered in December, he’s been a regular in Mikel Arteta’s starting line-ups since football returned and is showing the kind of form that persuaded us to part with big money last summer.
From the get-go, the 23-year-old’s attitude has impressed the boss who revealed he’s become a very popular member of the squad.
Speaking ahead of Sunday’s north London derby, Arteta said: “I’m very impressed with him. Since I joined even before he started to play games, just how he was acting and working on his rehab.
“Everybody loves him at the club, it’s not a coincidence. He earns that every single day, the way he treats people, the way he walks around the club, the energy he brings to the place.
“With his performances, I’m delighted. He’s adapted really, really well. He’s a player that gives you everything in every session, in every game and the quality that he is adding…he’s still so young and there are things to improve but he’s been a great addition to the team.”
He was also quick to shoot down suggestions the club were open to selling the player, nipping a question in the bud about January speculation before the journalist could even finish it.
“He is not going anywhere, I really like him,” was the curt response.
As someone who experienced switching Scottish football for the Premier League (via half a season with Real Sociedad), you sense Arteta is well attuned to Tierney’s situation.
“He had a really difficult period because of the injuries,” noted the boss. “He moved to a different city, a different context to that he had in Glasgow, a club that was winning all the time, he was very settled.
“It was a challenge for him and he’s been dealing with that in the best possible way. With some difficulties he needed the club to support him, he needed his teammates to make life easier for him.
“We’re all trying to help him, but you help him with pleasure because of what he brings and how willing he is to work, improve and give his maximum to the team.
He added: It is [a big transition Scotland to England] but he has adapted really, really well.
“Obviously, it’s a collective game and you need the right structure, the right people around you, the right players supporting you in his best position.
“We are learning as well where he feels more comfortable and how he can have a bigger impact on the team. It’s a process we’re in. He knew the league really well and he knew the differences, nobody had to explain that to him. He’s just experiencing everything and again, I’m delighted with him.”