'I've told my Arsenal pals: Wait & see, this kid will be a star in your team' - McLeish Exclusive
Alex McLeish is delighted ex-Celtic ace Kieran Tierney is living up to his billing as a once-in-a-generation Scottish talent at Arsenal.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the former Scotland manager has long tipped the defender, 23, for big things down south after coaching him while in charge of the national side.
Tierney became Celtic’s record sale when he joined Arsenal last summer in a deal worth £25million.
He initially struggled to make at impact at the Premier League giants, partly due to injury problems, but he put those behind him to shine following the June restart.
Tierney ended last season strongly by nailing down a starting place and playing a key role in Arsenal’s FA Cup triumph.
Asked by Football Insider for his verdict on Tierney, McLeish replied: “Looking at Tierney when he went to Arsenal, you might have expected him to go to Brendan [and join Leicester City].
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“After a troublesome injury and then you see some of his first three, four games and people were saying: ‘He’s not an Arsenal player.’
“I have a lot of Arsenal supporters as friends in England and I’ve told them: ‘Look, wait and see, this kid is fantastic. He’s got the determination and once he’s at the top level of fitness he will be a star in your team’.
“He’s already looking at that kind of level. He’s now back to his scintillating best and won a couple of trophies with Arsenal now.”
Tierney impressed in a three-man defence at the end of last season but has also played for Arsenal at left-back in a flat back four as well as at wing-back.
He has now played 25 times for the London giants after 170 appearances at boyhood club Celtic, where he broke into the first team aged just 17.