Kieran Tierney: Injury Layoff at Arsenal the 'Toughest Time of My Life'

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistMarch 19, 2020

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09: Kieran Tierney of Arsenal FC control ball during the Premier League match between West Ham United and Arsenal FC at London Stadium on December 9, 2019 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images)
Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images

Kieran Tierney has described his spell at Arsenal recovering from an injury as "the toughest time of my life."

The left-back arrived at the Emirates Stadium in the summer having built up a reputation as one of the most exciting full-backs in European football. However, his debut campaign has been ruined by fitness issues in North London; the Scot has been unavailable since December after dislocating his shoulder against West Ham United.

Speaking to Sport Bible (h/t Chris Burton of Goal), Tierney opened up on the difficulties he has faced this season:

"The night at West Ham away was a hard night for me. I knew I had dislocated my shoulder in the first 10, 15 minutes and straight away you know what you've done.

Then another 10 minutes, I did the same kind of thing. I landed differently. It was a set piece and my arm just went into a position that wasn't comfortable at all and dislocated. It was heartbreaking because in my head I knew I needed an operation. Three times in 30 minutes, nobody's shoulder should be going like that.

So in my head, I was like 'that's me out for another few months.' You know that and you know the devastation straight away. 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."

Per Mark Mann-Bryans of the Press Association, Tierney was training again before the recent suspension of the Premier League due to the coronavirus pandemic:

Mark Mann-Bryans @MarkyMBryans

Of the first five players out for #AFC training, four are wearing snoods. The other is Kieran Tierney in t shirt and shorts.

At Celtic, Tierney was wonderful to watch, offering a vibrant attacking presence on the left flank. At his best, the 22-year-old can dominate a wing with his energy and tenacity, while his consistent delivery into the penalty area gave forwards regular high-quality service.

As WhoScored.com relayed last summer, before moving to the Premier League, Tierney had proved he can play at a high level:

WhoScored.com @WhoScored

Kieran Tierney in the Europa League last season: Apps -- 6⃣ Shots -- 3⃣ Goals -- 1⃣ Key passes -- 1⃣0⃣ Accurate crosses -- 6⃣ Tackles -- 1⃣0⃣ Interceptions -- 1⃣3⃣ Rating -- 7⃣.1⃣3⃣ For more player stats -- https://t.co/E3X4UEtC4a https://t.co/ShDt806jee

Since moving to Arsenal, those moments of positive play have been in short supply. When he has been on the field, Tierney has yet to reach his potential, which is understandable given the struggles he has endured in relation to his fitness.

Arsenal supporters will be hoping that when the Premier League does resume, the left-back can string together a run of matches and rediscover some form. If he can, then the Gunners will have an exciting new dimension in their attacking play.