Should Kieran Tierney be made Arsenal captain?
Kieran Tierney is undeniably one of the best, most consistent and popular players at Arsenal right now. As a result of his excellent performance levels and contribution to the club since joining before the start of last season, he's become a fan favourite.
Tierney's impeccable record of solid performances and displays of his leadership qualities has made him a clear leader both on the pitch and in the dressing room. One might say he wears an 'invisible armband.' With all this hype around the Scotsman, the question must be asked: should Kieran Tierney be made Arsenal captain?
The armband at Arsenal, which has historically been worn by legends of the club such as Patrick Vieira and Tony Adams, is currently occupied by Gabonese striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. The 31-year-old gained the captaincy as a result of being the club’s talisman after Granit Xhaka was stripped of the title back when the Swiss international and the Arsenal fans clashed in October of 2019.
Aubameyang’s promotion seemed logical at the time; a player with experience, respect in the dressing room and very much the individual carrying Arsenal. But, as time has developed, we have come to see that Aubameyang might not be best suited to the role of club captain, through no fault of his own.
The captain of Arsenal Football Club should be the player who is highly respected behind the scenes, who performs to the highest standard every game, sets an example for the team and vocally leads his colleagues during matches. While Aubameyang remains an extremely popular figure at the club, despite his run of poor form this season, he does lack some of the core attributes one looks for in a leader. Most apparently so his lack of command on the pitch.
I, like many other Arsenal fans, do however see these qualities we value so highly from a captain from a different player in the squad, Kieran Tierney. The 23-year-old has a wise head upon relatively young shoulders having already captained his nation on numerous occasions. Furthermore, the Scot has experience of club captaincy. At the ripe age of 18, he skippered his boyhood club, Celtic, for the first time and continued to wear the armband on numerous occasions thereafter.
During his time south of the border, Tierney has displayed to all Arsenal fans that he has the qualities to become captain of the club. The 23-year-old has arguably been the club's most consistent player since the start of last season.
Furthermore, Tierney if often the player to step forward and complete media duties after the games. It is key to note he praises the team when they win, but normally accepts individual responsibility when the result doesn’t go their way, even though it is not him who has caused the loss.
Tierney, as well as his obvious leadership qualities, seems to be a figure who is popular with both his fellow teammates and the coaching staff at Arsenal. Earlier his week, Mikel Arteta sung Tierney's praises, the Spaniard stated, “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”.
Further to this, Arteta added that when he both arrives at and departs from training ground, he will often see Tierney in the gym, working on his strength and fitness. Tierney is just a proper football lad, wanting to do the best he can for himself and his club.
I hope, by now, you’ve been convinced that he does have what it takes to be captain. His qualities of leadership, respect and that pure love for football need no further explanation. However, while I do think Kieran Tierney has all the attributes to take on the role, I would not make him captain of Arsenal Football Club just yet...
Don't get me wrong; if it were as easy as it sounds, I would make him captain today. But, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang already the official captain of the club, it is practically impossible to take it off the former Dortmund man without it having a negative effect on the team.
Aubameyang is already running low on confidence due to a lack of goals this season, so stripping him of the captaincy could potentially quash any possibility of a ‘remontada’. He, when in form and confident, is one of the world’s best strikers and taking the armband from him when he did so much to earn it would be harsh, and unjust.
For now, Tierney should continue to work, play and train exactly how he is doing now. Undoubtedly, if he maintains his hard-working approach and continues to deliver strong on-field performances, Kieran Tierney will become the Arsenal captain one day.