ARSENAL legend Martin Keown has hailed Scotland star Kieran Tierney as a throwback to World Cup-winning duo Patrick Vieira and Emmanuel Petit.
Suggestions emerged this week that some Gunners stars had urged the former Celtic favourite to tone down his all-action, aggressive style in training.
However, Keown is adamant Tierney should not apologise for his physicality, revealing that he used to kick lumps out of Highbury icon Thierry Henry.
And the Invincible reckons those fiercely competitive sessions were pivotal to Arsenal’s glory days under Arsene Wenger.
Keown said: “I used to have screw-in boots in training and Thierry Henry would go berserk in training because he thought I was trying to kick him.
“I was tough and I wanted some of our young strikers to experience what they would face in the Premier League and I wanted to give them my best.
“I think Kieran Tierney is the same and he shouldn’t apologise for it. That should be the level of training – like it was at Arsenal back then.
“It was white-hot on the training pitch when I played. Guys like Patrick Vieira and Emmanuel Petit wanted to win everything, whether that was five-a-sides or two-vs-twos. You couldn’t let anyone down.
“You breed that through the football club and it’s good to have that sort of person. I’m glad he’s recreating that.”
And Keown, who made more than 400 appearances for Arsenal between 1984 to 2005, paid Tierney the ultimate compliment by comparing him to former teammate Ashley Cole, arguably the best left-back in the world for a period.
Keown told Stadium Astro: “Ashley Cole would always try to intercept; to pinch the ball and burst forward.
“I’m seeing a little bit of that in Tierney as well – take charge, intercept, don’t let them have the ball.”