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Arteta makes Tierney captaincy claim amid Aubameyang struggles


Ice-cool Kieran Tierney is a hot tip to become Arsenal skipper.

The Scot, who opened the floodgates against outclassed West Brom, stood out in the wintry conditions that had team-mate Alexandre Lacazette reaching for gloves and tights.

In the West Midlands snow, the 23-year-old opted for the short-sleeved look – and spent 90 minutes scorching down Arsenal ’s left flank.

Tierney won the admiration of team-mate Rob Holding, who adapted a well-loved movie quote to describe his Scottish colleague.

“You think coldness is your ally. But you merely adopted the cold. I was born in it, moulded by it – Kieran Tierney 2021,” Holding, clearly a fan of The Dark Knight Rises, wrote on Instagram.

And Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta revealed that, even in the most sub-zero conditions in training, Tierney cocks a snook to the footballer’s must-have ­accessory, the snood.



Tierney celebrates his strike in the snow
Tierney celebrates his strike in the snow

“He must have something special in his blood because we were all wearing snoods and gloves and hats in training and he just goes there with his shorts and T-shirt,” the Spaniard said.

“It is not like he is acting or anything. Believe me, he is very comfortable like that.”

A criticism of Arsenal this season is that they lack on-field leaders but Arteta insists Tierney is exactly that. And he’s backing the 23-year-old to one day wear the Gunners armband.

“Since the moment I joined the club, I have seen a player with enormous talent and with the perfect attitude and commitment,” Arteta said.

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“I think he can be ­Arsenal captain as he has the respect and admiration of every member of the staff and every player.

“It is just the way he is. He does it in a natural way. He is a really shy boy as well but he represents all of the values that we want to instil.



Arteta has tipped Tierney for the captaincy in the future
Arteta has tipped Tierney for the captaincy in the future

“He can still improve but he is a real threat in attack and really solid in defence. You see how he behaves on the pitch and when he talks he says the right thing.

“He is exactly what we are looking for and I am so happy to have him in the team.”

Arteta was also delighted with the performance of two-goal striker Lacazette, on the Arsenal scoresheet for the fourth successive game.

Lacazette’s form arguably merits a new contract but Arteta appears in no rush to hand the 29-year-old fresh terms.

Perhaps he is cautious given Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s meagre haul of just three goals since signing a new £250,000-a-week deal in September.

Aubameyang smashed 29 goals last term but they have dried up since penning his mega deal and Lacazette is now the main man in attack.



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Arsenal have also had their fingers badly burned by handing out a bumper £350,000-a-week deal to Mesut Ozil, now an Emirates outcast.

“We have not talked about anything related to his contract,” said the Arsenal boss. “I am delighted with the way he has performed because he has the form and the energy at the moment so he needs to keep doing that.

“We will talk in the summer and make a decision then.”

Lacazette was the focal point of Arsenal’s attack at the Hawthorns but there were lots of other impressive performers against the struggling Baggies.

Tierney left Darnell Furlong trailing before bending a superb right-foot shot into the far corner. Bukayo Saka then made it 2-0 by rounding off a fine, one-touch passing move that involved Lacazette and Emile Smith Rowe.

And, after the break, Lacazette completed the Tierney-inspired rout with two close-range finishes.

Scot Tierney was evidently quite at home in the freezing conditions in his shirt sleeves, opening the scoring before putting Lacazette’s second on a plate.

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Arteta, in charge a year, added: “He must have something special in his blood because we were all wearing snoods and gloves and hats in training and he just goes there with his shorts and t-shirt.

“It is not like he is acting or something like that. Believe me, he is very comfortable like that.

“Since the moment that I joined the club, I have seen a player with enormous talent with the perfect attitude and commitment.

“I think he can be Arsenal captain as he has the respect and admiration of every member of the staff and every player. It is just the way he is. He does it in a natural way.

“He is a really shy boy as well but he represents all of the values that we want to instil and are in the DNA in this club.

“He can still improve but he is a real threat in attack and really solid in defence. You see how he behaves on the pitch and when he talks he says the right thing.

“He is exactly what we are looking for and I am so happy to have him in the team.”





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