Kieron Tierney has not had the best of starts to his Arsenal career, having joined from Celtic with an injury, before picking up a fresh one just as he was nearing full flow.
The Scottish international has been out of action since December 10 after falling foul of a shoulder injury, and has since endured months of rehabilitation in order to try and return to action. Just as he is back in full training and wanting to get back on the pitch, all football was cancelled.
Tierney has now come out to reveal the extent of his injuries, and how tough it has been on him mentally throughout.
“Having an injury changes my training routine,” Tierney said. “The start of it was all based on the physio bed. The physio would move it into different ranges and positions. Then light movements but it was so light you wouldn’t believe it.
“I did a lot of bike work and did the cross trainer as well.
“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.”
Tierney went onto relive the moment that it dawned on him that he would be sidelined once more, adding:”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.”
The young Scot will now have to vie with the deputising Saka for his left-back spot, although the youngster would likely prefer to be utilised as a winger once again should he get the chance. Saka currently has plenty of attention on him due to the club’s failure to agree contract terms, and I would wonder whether part of that is due to him being played out of position.
Has Saka taken the left-back spot indefinitely? Would Arteta prefer Saka to stay at LB or return as a winger where he initially began to impress?