Premier League • England

Pundit admits growing Kieran Tierney concern after Arsenal forced to sign ‘insurance policy’

Kieran Tierney raising his hand during an Arsenal warm up

Former Arsenal striker Kevin Campbell admits he is growing increasingly ‘concerned’ by the frequency of Arsenal defender Kieran Tierney’s injuries.

The Scotland international is back in training after missing the end of last season with a knee injury, while he then suffered a setback in a pre-season outing against FC Nurnberg.

Mikel Arteta revealed that most of the club’s injured players should be available for Friday night’s Premier League season opener against Crystal Palace.

But when asked by Football Insider about Tierney‘s injury issues, Campell said: “Look, it is concerning. Tierney is a starter when he is fit.

“Mikel Arteta had to go out and buy an insurance policy though. That insurance policy is a four-time Premier League winner in Zinchenko.

“It is as if Zinchenko has been at Arsenal all of his life. He has slotted in. It seems easy.

“The first game of the season we will learn a lot more about that. But he is a proven Premier League player. He is a winner. Zinchenko is a winner.

“Tierney is back in training but he is not going to start now. Zinchenko is going to start against Palace, that’s for sure.

“He knows how to play the position. He knows exactly what Arteta wants.

“I always say, the best ability is availability. Tierney might get some minutes on Friday but if he is not available more often he will miss out.”

Tierney and Zinchenko could both start – eventually

While Tierney and summer signing Zinchenko are seemingly in a straight fight for the left-back slot, there is still a strong possibility they could both feature in the same starting XI.

While the former Man City star was normally utilised at full-back at The Etihad, for Ukraine he plays in central midfield.

Indeed, he was outstanding playing his country in that position in Euro 2020.

So once Tierney is fully up to speed again, Arteta may opt to start the Scot in defence and Zinchenko in midfield – depending on the opposition.

That sort of adaptability arguably makes Zinchenko one of the signings of the season for a Gunners side looking to back in the top-four mix this term.

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