Kieran Tierney has reflected on his debut campaign at Arsenal, with the Scotland international admitting that the last 12 months have been “the toughest year of my life”.
The talented 23-year-old has plenty of positives to look back on as he approaches the end of his first season at Emirates Stadium. There have, however, been a number of obstacles for him to overcome along the way.
Big things were expected when Tierney, after several years of speculation, took the decision to trade life at boyhood club Celtic for Premier League heavyweights Arsenal.
He arrived in north London nursing a knock, and injuries became a familiar theme early on.
Tierney was, however, to find form and fitness in English football and has been a star man for the Gunners since football resumed after a coronavirus-enforced break.
The highly-rated left-back is considered to be a big part of Arsenal’s present and future, but he admits that reaching this point has not been easy.
Tierney told Arsenal’s official website: “It’s been the toughest year of my life. I’ve had the injury and a lot of new challenges but you need challenges, you need to be uncomfortable.
“You need to challenge yourself to improve. I worked hard every day and I knew it wasn’t going to be easy coming to this massive club full of great players. I knew it was going to be tough coming in and trying to get my place in the team.
“I’m just grateful for every opportunity I get to go on the pitch and give my all. I try to repay the manager’s faith by working hard and trying to put in good performances. It’s all about the hard work.”
Tierney saw his Premier League commitments for 2019-20 end on a high note against Watford, with his first goal for Arsenal recorded in a dramatic 3-2 win. While delighted to find the target, a man who only has nine senior efforts to his name admits that he is not the best when it comes to the art of celebration.
He added: “I didn’t know what to do so I just turned around. I think it was shock! I’ll take it. It was a good ball from Auba as well so it was a good day for me personally.”
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang bagged a brace for Arsenal against the Hornets as the Gunners finished in eighth spot, with their attention about to shift towards an FA Cup final date with London rivals Chelsea.