25 Jun 19
The Scottish Sun
JORDI ALBA. Jan Vertonghen. Aleksandar Kolarov.
The names rolled off James Forrest’s tongue as he revealed the best left-backs he’s faced.
Forrest isn’t surprised to see Tierney linked with big clubs
But the Celtic winger is adamant that in-demand Kieran Tierney should be ranked alongside them.
That’s why Forrest isn’t surprised that Arsenal have launched a big-money bid to land him.
As the Gunners prepare a second offer, the Scotland star says KT is already among the world’s elite full-backs.
He said: “When you play in Europe all the left-backs tend to be good.
The full-back is being targeted by Arsenal
“There are a lot of top ones when you go into the Champions League or Europa League or who are playing with Scotland.
“Who’s been the best? I’ve faced Alba, Vertonghen and Kolarov but Kieran’s right up there. You can see the way he bombs up and down how fit he is.
“He’s a great athlete and he’s good defensively as well.
“KT has been training with the first team for a good four years now so I’ve played against him a lot in training.
“Whether you are playing against him or he’s in your team, you can see the quality he’s got.
“When you go away with Scotland, other players who play against him realise how good he is.
“You’ve seen that with his performances in Europe and at international level.
“He can also play a couple of different positions.
Forrest and Tierney are regular Scotland internationals
“We’ve seen a lot of players who’ve gone down south and done well and a lot who have gone down and maybe not do as well.
“KT has got that ability. He has shown it in the Champions League.”
Andy Robertson is another Scottish left-back who has excelled at that level and comparisons are natural.
Forrest rates both highly and says Tierney is every bit as talented as the Liverpool star.
He said: “There’s nothing between him and Andy. They are two great players for Scotland.
“Even though they play in the same position, they are slightly different with the way they play.
“It’s a bonus for Scotland that we have two players like that.
“You’d have to ask KT if he’d want to do what Andy has done. I’m not sure what he’s thinking about that.”
Tierney returned to light training with Celtic in Austria
Tierney didn’t appear to be struggling with the transfer talk at Celtic’s Austrian training base.
Still in rehab from a double hernia op, the 22-year-old had a laugh and joke with team-mates and boss Neil Lennon.
Arsenal are deadly serious about signing him and are expected to up their initial offer of £15million.
But Forrest admires the way his close pal takes everything in his stride — despite the uncertainty.
He said: “KT hasn’t been saying much. He’s here even though he isn’t training yet.
“But he’s been linked with moves the last couple of years and he always handles it the same. He has a really good personality and it’s a credit to him how he gets on with things.
“KT has been linked with big clubs from the first season he broke into the team.
“But he has got a great personality and he never lets any of that bother him.
Both players came through the ranks at Celtic
“You have seen that in his performances over the last couple of years.
“He is always up there as one of the best players.
“It’s happened to a few of the boys, getting linked to different teams.
“But the staff at the club always keep you grounded.”
Tierney is happy at Celtic but there is also a feeling that Arsenal would to be too big to turn down. A massive club in the richest league in the world and a contract that would see him rake in £20m?
The lure of that would be strong for anyone — but Forrest doesn’t expect Tierney’s head to be turned.
He said: “KT loves Celtic. We just need to wait and see.
“Whatever happens, he is going to give 100 per cent for the club. I hope that he stays. He’s such a good player and he’s been really important for us over the years.
Forrest had a successful season
“Its’ good for him that he’s getting linked with clubs, because it shows how well he is doing. It’s a positive thing for him and Celtic — but the club are doing everything they can to keep him.
“Rightly so, when you look at how good he has been for us. You want to keep your top players.
“For KT, it’s good to be linked — but I’m sure he will want it sorted.”
Forrest is unlikely to feature for Celtic in the opening friendly with Pinkafeld.
The Scotland winger will be eased back in after reporting back on Monday and admits it will be hard to top last season.
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Forrest won another Treble and scooped a host of Player of the Year awards — but insists that counts for nothing now. He said: “At the start of every season we forget about what’s gone before and go again.
“I was delighted with the way it went last season.
“Everyone hits their peak at different times but the last couple of years I have definitely felt like I have played well and I’ve really enjoyed it.
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“What we’ve done this last few years has never been done before.
“But there’s always pressure when you play at Celtic, you get judged on every game you play. A lot of the boys here are used to dealing with it though.”
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