ASHLEY COLE has hailed Kieran Tierney as the “star of Arsenal’s defence” after his man of the match display against Leicester City.
The Scottish defender proved a real bright spark in last night’s 1-1 draw at the Emirates.
And ex-Arsenal and Chelsea left-back Cole was hugely impressed by the 22-year-old’s outstanding performance.
He told Sky Sports: “(Tierney) came to Arsenal with high expectations. Watching him at Celtic he was brilliant.
“He came carrying an injury, he didn’t start the season and now he’s starting to get back to fitness.
“For me, he’s been the star of this Arsenal defence. Whether it’s a three or an out-and-out left-back.
“I think he has top qualities. He can play into a striker, join the attacks well, a good quality of pass, he can defend in one vs one situations.
“He seems like a defender that doesn’t want to be beat. He’s not happy when crosses go in. I think for Arsenal, he’s a great player.
“Of course he can improve but I think so far he’s been brilliant for Arsenal.”
And the stats prove England legend Cole can spot a top left-back in the making.
Although he has made just 11 league appearances for the Gunners this term, Tierney leads his fellow defenders in tackles won per 90 minutes.
The former Celtic star’s 78.57 per cent success rate in winning the ball back is also higher than Hector Bellerin, David Luiz and Sokratis.
Tierney’s 5.16 recoveries per the 90 minutes he has made this season is only marginally adrift of Sead Kolasinac at 5.57 and Ainsley Maitland-Niles on 5.63.
But he beat both of them for tackles won with his 1.42 score per match as well as his relatively low 0.90 fouls conceded.
To back up Cole’s praise, Luiz is the only Arsenal defender to beat Tierney’s 0.39 rating for being dribbled past by an opponent each game.
Speaking after the score draw with Leicester, the full-back explained that his form has been aided by manager Mikel Arteta’s arrival.
He said: “The boss has been brilliant.
“I think we had a period to work closely and obviously coming back we had a few weeks to work without games.
“We did that, we worked hard every day and continued into the games – the first few results we got weren’t ideal but we are building something here and it isn’t going to happen overnight.
“I think everybody can see we are progressing well, we have still got on a long way to go but we are doing all we can, listening to everything he says and we all believe.”