Arsenal defender Kieran Tierney offered advice from Steve Clarke

Clarke’s longevity at one of English football’s greatest clubs is a testament not only to his skills as a player but also to his professional attitude which has been a hallmark of his teams ever since. They tend to be hardworking and disciplined – traits shared by the national team boss – and there are some notable examples of that mentality in the current season.

Take Kieran Tierney for example. Here’s one player who hasn’t had any trouble searching lately with the former Celtic defender struggling for game time at the Emirates. Being pushed down the pecking order after rivals are recruited for the shirt is an integral part of the sport, but Clarke still feels sympathy for the 25-year-old.

“It’s one of the things you have to deal with when you play at a top club,” he said. “I had it myself when I was a player.

CONTINUE READING: Steve Clarke points out the Hampden factor showing the Scottish team’s progress

“Obviously it was a bit easier in the early days at Chelsea, but once the foreign influence kicked in and better players came along, you’re at a level where you might not get picked to play every game.

“You have to deal with that. I’ve been talking to Kieran somewhat lately and he’s handling the situation well. He understands why he doesn’t get that many minutes in the Premier League.

“It’s unfortunate that he contracted an illness last week, otherwise he would have played the game in Portugal. They have the second leg this week and I’m confident he can get a start and some minutes.

“He just has to pull himself together and move on. He does. You have to be a good professional and work as hard as you can. His club flies at the top of the league so while it’s not great that he’s not playing, he can take comfort in the fact that the team is playing well.”

Clarke himself persevered when things got tough and he expects Tierney to follow suit. He is impressed by the mentality of the versatile defender and expects to ply his trade in the Premier League for years to come.


It seems hard to imagine now but believe it or not, the no-nonsense Scotland manager says there was a time when his own attitude wasn’t the best. After leaving the team, his motivation suffered – and he hopes that others will learn from his mistakes.

“I don’t think anyone else wanted me! You have the choice. Run away and try somewhere else or persevere,” Clarke explained. “I didn’t have too many admirers back then. I settled in the area and settled in the club.

“I adjusted my position a bit and switched to central defender and that seemed to help me get more games.

“At some point, towards the end of my career, I picked up a few trophies. That’s a nice end to my career, with two or three winner’s medals in my pocket.

“Kieran is probably in a slightly different position. He’s certainly good enough to play at the highest level in the Premier League. I think he should pull himself together, finish this season like the fine pro that he is and see what the summer brings.

CONTINUE READING: Disappointing and frustrating: Ross McCrorie reacts to his latest Scotland snub

Clarke continued, “I’ve actually had six months of letting myself down. I wasn’t training as hard as I could or working as hard as I could to be on the team. Luckily, I saw my mistake, tackled it, and got back on the team.

“Everyone deals with situations like this differently. If I could go back to my situation when team selection was a little wobbly, I would do it differently. I can now pass this on to people and let them benefit from my experience. It didn’t do me any good at all.

“I realized I was going nowhere. I realized I had to pull myself together and get back on the team and I did. I ended up with a pretty decent career.

“You have all these experiences that you’re trying to take with you. Then try to pass that knowledge on to players who are going through a similar, if not the same, situation.

“You’re like, ‘Look, I screwed that up, just be careful what you do. Do the right thing’.” Arsenal defender Kieran Tierney offered advice from Steve Clarke

Russell Falcon

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