Mikel Arteta says Arsenal are doing their best to get Kieran Tierney fit again but it sounds like the Scotland international won’t be available for Saturday’s trip to Aston Villa.
The 23-year-old has been struggling with a calf problem in the last month and has missed five of the Gunners’ last six games. Worryingly, it sounds like he may now have a new problem.
Given the left-back has established himself as an integral part of the defensive unit and a dangerous attacking outlet, his absence hasn’t gone under the radar.
Asked for an update on the Scot, the boss said: “It’s a different injury in this case. Kieran is a player that really pushes himself and he has to be able to perform physically at his best because he cannot help himself. Even in training he can’t help himself.
“We are trying to manage him in the best possible way and find every possibility to give him the best chance to be fit as soon as possible, and we are here to support him as much as we can.”
No doubt, Tierney will be desperate to get back on the pitch as soon as possible, especially with the European Championships on the horizon. Arteta, quite rightly, isn’t so fussed about his player’s international ambitions and just wants him back for the Premier League run in.
“What I want is that he’s fit to play for us as soon as possible, then if he’s fit and he’s ready to represent his country, there we go, it’s one of his dreams and he needs to fulfil that. But what I want is for him to play for Arsenal.”
The Gunners had been tipped to recruit back-up for Tierney in the January transfer window – Southampton’s Ryan Bertrand was linked, as were Crystal Palace duo Tyrick Mitchell and Patrick van Aanholt – but a deal never materialised. It means right-footed Cedric is likely to get more game time.
While Arteta hinted the reports weren’t off the mark, he says he’s pleased with the way the club went about their business in the circumstances.
“We cannot do everything,” he said. “As I mentioned before, there are so many things that we had to do in this transfer window and we had to focus on the priorities for that.
“We almost did everything we wanted to do and there are things to do, but when you talk about the squad evolution, it’s going to take time and a big effort. Things have to happen your way as well and that’s not the case all the time.”