Arteta outlines reasons for making Odegaard Arsenal's new captain
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Arsenal star Kieran Tierney has welcomed the competition Oleksandr Zinchenko will give him. However, he has made it clear to Mikel Arteta he is ready to start the new season in the team.
Zinchenko arrived from Manchester City last month for a fee of up to £32million. The Ukraine star featured most at left-back during his time at City but can also operate in midfield.
His first two friendly appearances for the Gunners have seen him play on the left of defence, with Tierney missing due to injury. However, the Scot is now back fit ahead of the season opener at Crystal Palace on Friday night.
In an interview with former Celtic striker Chris Sutton for the Mail, Tierney was asked if Arteta spoke to him about the signing of Zinchenko. The 25-year-old insisted that wasn’t the case and has welcomed the competition.
Tierney replied: “No, but I’m not surprised because I’ve never had that. At a club like Arsenal, you need competition.
“For where we want to go, you need at least two players for each position. He is a great signing.”
Tierney then doubled down on his view that competition for places is good for him and the club. But he has made it known he is fit to start the season.
He added: “Genuinely, I love it. I love being up against it. I’m coming back from injury. I know I’ll need to work my way back. But I’m ready.”
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Tierney and fellow full-back Takehiro Tomiyasu have struggled with injuries throughout 2022. But Gunners boss Arteta hopes the duo do not suffer long term with fitness issues.
Speaking at his press conference on Thursday, he said: “Hopefully not [long-term injuries]. The reason they got those persistent injuries are for different reasons, probably because the squad didn’t enable them to recover, and [we] don’t play them when it was necessary and were too tired when they weren’t fully recovered so sometimes we had to rush them.
“It was a combination of things with those two players, they’re so pushy and willing to contribute with the team. We know that with those two fit and performing at their best, we are much stronger as a team.”
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