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‘Just like Virgil van Dijk’: Arsenal 23-year-old earns high praise ahead of cup final

(Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

Arsenal

‘Just like Virgil van Dijk’: Arsenal 23-year-old earns high praise ahead of cup final

Arsenal defender Kieran Tierney has been praised by Gordon Strachan, who told the Daily Mail that he compares the way he “smells danger” to Virgil van Dijk.

Tierney joined Arsenal last summer from Celtic in a reported £25million deal, arriving at the Emirates Stadium to much fanfare given his heroics for the Scottish Premiership team.

The 23-year-old struggled to make his mark early on amid injury issues but was impressive after the restart, featuring in every game and becoming one of the first names on Mikel Arteta’s teamsheet.

(Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Ahead of Arsenal’s FA Cup final clash with Chelsea, Strachan – who gave Tierney his Scotland debut in 2017 – spoke highly of how the versatile player has not only the talent but the attitude to succeed.

“Kieran has a first-class approach,” he told the Daily Mail. “He listens and takes in information and, crucially, he listens to what you are telling other players too so that he understand their roles also.

 

“He is bright and he smells danger, just like Virgil van Dijk does at Liverpool. He isn’t in that class yet but there are similarities. And he backs himself. He is brave like that.

“Many full backs or central defenders won’t push out on to a winger, for example. They are happy to let them cross. At least they can’t get beaten or embarrassed that way. Kieran won’t do that. He will get out there and say, “If you are gonna cross this, you will have to get by me first.”

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Arsenal’s season has been a mixed bag to say the least, before and after the suspension, but one of the best things to emerge for the Gunners after the resumpton of English football has been Tierney’s incredible form.

The North Londoners have had to wait for the Scot to shine, given his injuries prior to the hiatus, but needless to say it’s been worth the wait – and to earn a comparison with the world-class Liverpool defender is quite the compliment.

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