Coach explains where he sees Kieran Tierney’s role in Scotland set-up
Scotland assistant Steven Reid craves dealing with the national side’s great conundrum that it is hoped will move a step closer this week. It is expected that Kieran Tierney will be deployed at left-back for Arsenal when the London club travel to Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium on Wednesday as the Premier League resumes.
It will mark a first game in seven months for a player who became Scotland’s most expensive export following a £25 million move south last summer but has had his season wrecked by injury. He dislocated his shoulder in December, while his debut for Arsenal was delayed as he recovered from a groin problem that dogged him in his last season in Glasgow.
His fitness issues mean it is approaching two years since he last featured for Scotland – the concern then how he could be accommodated alongside Liverpool’s Andy Robertson, not merely Scotland captain and fellow left-back, but now a Champions League and soon-to-be English title winner who has attained the status as the top practitioner across Europe in his berth.
In only assuming charge in May 2019, Scotland manager Steve Clarke and his No.2 Reid have never worked with Tierney but the former Republic of Ireland defender hopes that will change in the coming months. International football is expected to return in some form following the shutdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic, with the possibility Uefa will set a date for the country’s Euro 2020 play-off semi-final at home to Israel at a meeting on Wednesday.
“The manager had a meeting with Kieran, went down and had a bit of lunch or a coffee and they had a really positive chat,” Reid said. “For selfish reasons, the break has been good because it allows us to get everyone up to speed, with John McGinn in that bracket too.
“I’ve not massively had any experience of the sort of situation that is having Kieran and Andy [vying for left-back].
“With Ireland we had [big players] Robbie [Keane], Roy [Keane], Damien Duff, Richard Dunne but were fortunate that talent was spread around the team. We had Steven Carr and Steve Finnan in the same era. Finny might have played left-back and filled in there, while we had Ian Harte too. But a lot of our top players were pretty much exclusive to their position.
“But it’s better to have this problem than not. For the gaffer and the coaching staff it’s great that we have players at that level, with top clubs, and it’s about finding a way to put out the best team we can.
“My opinion is that Kieran is that good a player he could play in a few positions. You could probably ask him to do a job in a position he has never played before.
“I’d imagine his favoured position is left-back but he has the ability, the temperament to play in numerous positions. There’s no doubt he could do it and it’s good to see him get up to speed. We’ll cross that bridge when we get to the next squad.”
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