The Kieran Tierney Conundrum
Messi or Ronaldo? Oasis or Blur? Ketchup or Mayo on your chips (mix them both together, obvs!)? All worthy debates to resume once again over a pint now that the pubs have reopened. But what about the one that has been rumbling in Scotland for about five years now. Tierney or Robertson?
It’s a tough one this!
It’s all so classic Scotland isn’t it? Having our two best players in a generation playing in the same position.
Last week Andy Robertson became the fifth Scot to win the English Premier League trophy. Kieran Tierney is the most expensive Scottish player in history at £25millon. Robertson has won the Champions League. Tierney has 11 major honours to his name. Robertson has won the young player of the year in Scotland. Tierney’s done it three times.
Whatever way you want to frame the debate, there’s no doubt it’s a plus for the Scottish national team to have two players with such talent in the ranks and both playing English top division football.
So, (the age-old question really), how do we fit these two young mavericks into the Scotland team ahead of the Euro playoffs and Nations League games in the Autumn?
Robertson has pretty much had free reign in the dark blue the last 18 months, in-part due to Tierney’s injuries, him being named Scotland captain and playing his career best football in a relentless and winning Liverpool team. But with Tierney now establishing himself in the Arsenal team, Stevie Clarke MUST find a way to not only get the pair into his starting XI, but find a way to utilise their strengths to the benefit of his team.
It’s all well and good naming the two in the team ahead of a crucial tie, but there ain’t no point in doing something just for the sake of doing it (I have former teachers of mine smiling smugly somewhere with that line).
The swell of Scots fans generally has Robertson as the left wing-back with Tierney playing the left man of a back three. But is this cutting our nose to spite our face?
Former assistant gaffer Mark McGhee recently commented that Tierney is a BETTER defender than Robertson stating “Kieran was always more natural as a defender. He is decent in the air for his size, he is aggressive and he is quick on the turn. He will not get done in behind easily.”
Could Scotland play them both on the left of a 4-4-2 and play everything down their side of the park? Or could either jump to the right of a 3-5-2 (or 3-5-1-1) and play on their weak side, cutting in-field?
Told you it was tricky.