Kieran Tierney sends message to his country as Arsenal fans pray on positive injury news

Kieran Tierney admitted it will be a nightmare watching from the side in one of Scotland’s biggest ever games as he opened up on his injury heartache that will see him miss the Ukraine clash.

The 24-year-old Arsenal’s star last game was in the dark blue of his country in a 2-2 draw in Austria after scoring in the first part of that friendly double header against Poland at Hampden.

Steve Clarke’s men should have been playing their World Cup play-off semi-final that week but took on bounce games with Ukraine fighting against the Russia invasion.

And Tierney is now out of the rearranged game on Wednesday with, hopefully, a second match to come with Wales awaiting the winners for a place at Qatar this winter.

The Gunners stopper also missed out on Arsenal’s failed bid to make the top four and Tierney admitted it’s been a frustrating spell on the sidelines due to his knee injury.

He told the Scottish Sun : “It’s hard being forced to watch games, I’m not going to lie.

“But whether it’s Arsenal or Scotland, I still only want what’s 100 per cent best for the team. I want them to win every game.

“And, of course, I’ll be supporting my Scotland team-mates all the way on Wednesday night.

“We’ve got an amazing manager and a team buying into everything he’s doing.

“You can see it on the park with performances, team spirit, never giving up, being hard to beat.

“We’re on a great run and there’s a confidence within the squad.

“We can definitely do it. I’ve got 100 per cent faith in the boys.

“But it’s going to be a very difficult game against Ukraine.

“They’re a top team with excellent players.

Scotland’s World Cup fate will be decided in June with two crucial games

“Everyone has great support for them with the terrible war back home against Russia.

“But on a football level both sets of players want to reach the World Cup.

“I think to play in that tournament is the pinnacle of any footballer’s career — and it would be no different for me. It would also be massive for Scottish football.”

Tierney explained the timeline of his injury nightmare, saying: “We played Wolves at home in February and I felt something in my knee in the first half.

“I told the physios and we tested it. But it was fine and it also wasn’t that sore. I carried on playing for Arsenal, then reported for Scotland duty and played twice with no problems.

“I wasn’t in any great pain. I’d played for Arsenal and we’d been winning, then for Scotland I got a goal and an assist. So there had been nothing to worry about after that Wolves match.

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“I came back completely fine. Then I was doing some leg exercises in the gym and my left knee clicked. I instinctively felt it wasn’t right and that I should probably go for a scan.

“But the scan result came back and suddenly I’m needing an op. It was so unfortunate. But after that click I just knew it wasn’t normal.

“The verdict was 12 weeks — and it was gutting when I realised the games I’d miss for Arsenal and Scotland. However, there was nothing I could do about it.

“Instantly, I just wanted to know from the specialist and the physios what it was going to take to get back quickly.

“Whenever I have been given a timeframe for recovery I’ve always aimed to get back earlier.

“I push myself as hard as I can, it’s the only way I know.

“It’s tough working full days in the gym on your own. But you’ve got to keep on pushing yourself. There’s no point feeling sorry for yourself.

“I don’t look for or expect sympathy from anyone. At the end of the day I’m lucky to be a footballer — and I never take anything for granted. I’m a nightmare for the physios. I’m always on at them to get me back quicker.

“And I’m a terrible spectator. Not being able to do anything to help the team, I hate it. My target is to be back for the end of June and the start of pre-season at Arsenal. I’m on course for that. My rehab’s going well.

“And I can’t give the Arsenal sports science, fitness and medical staff enough credit. They are absolutely top notch. I couldn’t wish for a better support set-up here.

“Mentally and physically, the club provides every possible back-up for the players.

“And I’m certainly not looking for any medals because I’m working hard. That’s just what footballers — indeed everybody in life — needs to do.”


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