Unai Emery press conference: Arsenal boss says Hector Bellerin and Kieran Tierney fit to play, but is coy on

Unai Emery press conference: Arsenal boss says Hector Bellerin and Kieran Tierney fit to play, but is coy on
Football

Unai Emery insists Kieran Tierney is ‘ready to play’ against Standard Liege on Thursday.

The Arsenal boss made the revelation despite the defender being pulling out of Scotland’s October Euro 2020 qualifiers.

Unai Emery’s Arsenal were beaten in the Europa League final last season

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Unai Emery’s Arsenal were beaten in the Europa League final last season

Tierney has been nursing a groin injury since joining the Gunners for £25million from Celtic in August.

He made his debut in a 5-0 Carabao Cup win over Nottingham Forest last week but was left out of Monday’s 1-1 draw at Manchester United and subsequently withdrew from the Scotland squad.

Emery, however, says he is ready to play for Arsenal, while fellow full-back Hector Bellerin is also poised to feature if he feels good enough on the morning of the match.

Meanwhile, Emery refused to confirm whether Mesut Ozil would play a part in the club’s second Europa League game of the season.

Ozil was left out of the Spaniard’s 18-man squad for the trip to Old Trafford, putting his Arsenal future in further doubt.

Read the highlights of Emery’s pre-match Standard Liege press conference below…

On Kieran Tierney’s availability

“He needs time, confidence, training and playing. Tomorrow is a good opportunity, he is ready to play. He will take minutes and confidence.

“He will be able with us to show his progress.

“I asked Kieran yesterday because we were waiting first for him to be with us consistently. Each step yesterday is important to be consistent.

“He didn’t play in Manchester because he had a small problem, not important, but the doctor told us it was important for him to be here with us, preparing for tomorrow.

“We are thinking it is not the moment to work with them (Scotland) for the next matches.

“I think he is going to be ready to play with us and to play with them but now he is going to play tomorrow and also hopefully he can be good completely physically, tactically, but really with us I think he can but taking precaution also to not play a lot of matches in a few days.”

Kieran Tierney appears close to fully recovering from a groin injury

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Kieran Tierney appears close to fully recovering from a groin injury

On Hector Bellerin’s fitness

“Hector Bellerin is the same but with a small difference. His injury was more time, after a long time, nine months, we need first to play the 15 minutes he played last week [against Nottingham Forest].

“He played in the Under-23s to take confidence, to do actions on the pitch.

“For tomorrow we are thinking, it depends on the training, tomorrow he is going to play.”

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On Mesut Ozil returning to the squad

“We are going to train then and after we are going to decide.

“I am going to decide the best first XI and in the squad also the best who can help us.”

On playing more academy graduates in the Europa League

“This Arsenal academy has been a very big academy in the history. Our responsibility as a club and as a coach is to give them chances. I know I have a big responsibility with that group.

“After is to look for the best performance every time, giving the young players chances to be with us.

“If they are playing well we will give them chances.

Joe Willock scored against Frankfurt in Arsenal’s first Europa League game of the season

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Joe Willock scored against Frankfurt in Arsenal’s first Europa League game of the season

“A lot of players in the academy are closer to us. We want to give them an opportunity. I don’t know if other clubs are doing more or less, our responsibility is our responsibility.”

On Standard Liege and the Europa League

“Standard Liege are second in their domestic competition, we respect them a lot.

“I want to feel that not me loves this competition, that everybody loves it. We want to do something important. It’s one title, one way to the Champions League.

“We are going to play very good matches, we started against a great team [Frankfurt], playing a very good match away. The response of the young players was amazing, one example is Bukayo [Saka].”