The Premier League is blessed with talent at the left back position and two of the best come from Scotland, arguably Robertson & Tierney could go down as the 2 best Scottish fullbacks ever! Who is the better player though?
Casual fans may go for Robertson he is the better known one right now and it’s understandable. Since joining Liverpool three and half years ago for a bargain £8m he has played in 2 Champs League finals, winning one and won the PL Title. By virtue for playing at Liverpool he will be considered one of the best around, Klopp plays with his full backs high up the field, asking them to be dynamic, forceful and offering quality delivery to the forwards. You cannot help but notice both Robertson or TAA they are involved all the time. Defensively wise you can question his skill set, relying on his energy and pace to disrupt opposition forwards.
Defending though is Tierney’s strongpoint, even though he is 5”10 like Robertson he has played centre back for Celtic & Arsenal and not looked out of place. When left one on one his positioning is top class, setting traps before he pounces with his tackle. He reminds me a lot of Ashley Cole, the best left back in the PL ever. Defending comes first with the attacking part of the game being a complimentary element.
The key factor for fullbacks these days is the attacking side, athleticism and then defending. Many of the players considered the best are either converted wide midfielders/wingers. 30 years+ ago these guys would not have been playing at full back. I’ve played full back all my life and I prefer a defender first, attacker second. This is why I would give Tierney the nod over Robertson.
That being said I am a fan of Robertson noticing him when he joined Hull and always felt he was good enough to play for a top team but being more of a squad player rather than a vital piece of the jigsaw. Lining up for a struggling PL team, he dominated all the left hand side, very much like he does now at Liverpool. It didn’t feel as if it would transcend to top tier matches. His route to the top gradually from Queens Park to Dundee Utd and then Hull though probably helped secure his move to the Reds, his way of play fitted Klopp and he was a cheaper option. Tierney on the other hand burst onto the scene for Celtic at 18, winning domestic honours with the all conquering Celtic treble teams and individually. Almost immediately he was a fan favourite even on the radar of top sportsman like Conor McGregor who spoke honourably of his talents. Whoever tempted Tierney away was going to splash a lot more cash than Robertson’s fee, this was the case when Kieran joined Arsenal for £25m.
It’s fair to say Arsenal or Liverpool consider them both key components to their teams and mode of play, despite Tierney being younger their valuations would undoubtedly be similar now compared to their last transfers mentioned above.
The Scottish National team have the unenviable task of shoe horning both into the starting 11 as when you have talents like that they both need to play. Whether the odd one out goes to play right back, centre back or wide midfielder they will be better than the player who holds that role for Scotland. Robertson is the current captain for the national team but Tierney portrays more leadership traits and as long as he stays clear of injuries which have blighted his career at times eventually he may hold the armband.
However you judge the two of them or other left backs in the league it’s going to be intriguing watching how their career paths will flow over the next few years.
featured image credit The Mirror