UEFA.com's weekly wonderkid: Kieran Tierney

"Hard as nails" according to one observer, Celtic full-back Kieran Tierney, who models his game on Roberto Carlos, is already making a splash despite being just 18.

Kieran Tierney is an increasingly important player for Celtic
Kieran Tierney is an increasingly important player for Celtic ©Getty Images

After establishing himself in Celtic's starting XI this season, left-back Kieran Tierney, or 'KT' as he is known to team-mates, has been tipped for a great future at club and international levels.

Name: Kieran Tierney
Club: Celtic
Debut: 22 April 2015 v Dundee
Position: left-back
Nationality: Scottish
Date of birth: 5 June 1997
Preferred foot: left
Height: 1.78m

They say …
"I wouldn't change Kieran Tierney for anyone. You see his attitude, it's always first class and he'll only get better. He has already shown he can play at a high level in Europe and he's only 18."
Ronny Deila, Celtic manager

"I love the wee man, he's as hard as nails. He'd tackle his granny and he'd go into any situation and thrive just because of his attitude. He's a born winner, a born leader and he's a great young lad to come through at Celtic."
Scott Brown, Celtic captain

"For a kid, he always looks for the ball and never hides. That's impressive. His left foot is a wand and he's good in the tackle. Celtic's history boasts plenty of attacking full-backs. They might just have another."
Neil Cameron, Scottish Herald football writer

Tierney's European bow: Celtic 2-2 Fenerbahçe
Tierney's European bow: Celtic 2-2 Fenerbahçe

Background …
Born in Douglas on the Isle of Man, Tierney joined the Celtic youth set-up aged seven. He was a ball boy when Celtic beat Barcelona in November 2012, making his debut less than two years later against Tottenham Hotspur on a pre-season tour of Finland. His competitive bow came in April 2015 and, though a broken foot subsequently slowed his progress, he has since forced his way back into contention and was trusted by Deila to play a significant role in the UEFA Europa League group stage.

Playing style …
An all-action, swashbuckling, left-footed wing back, Tierney is a tenacious tackler when required and never wastes an opportunity to join in with the attack. A good passer and reader of the play who is capable of delivering pinpoint crosses from the left.

Former Real Madrid full-back Roberto Carlos
Former Real Madrid full-back Roberto Carlos©Popperfoto/Getty Images

Shades of …
Tierney is far too modest to make comparisons yet admits to being influenced by former Celtic favourite Shunsuke Nakamura. The Japanese midfielder once gave Tierney his boots after he impressed as a ten-year-old while recording a promotional video for the 2006 FIFA World Cup. Tierney models his game, however, on ex-Real Madrid and Brazil full-back Roberto Carlos.

Eureka moment …
Tierney started four of Celtic's UEFA Europa League group fixtures and, although the Hoops failed to advance, assistant manager John Collins said: "The positive is Kieran Tierney. Nobody had heard of him two months ago, an 18-year-old playing like a £5m [€6.4m] full-back. That's positive and we want to talk about it."

Tierney in action against Ajax
Tierney in action against Ajax©AFP/Getty Images

Best-case scenario …
Having recently signed a new four-year deal with the Scottish champions, Tierney is poised to become a regular with "the club he loves". He is seen as a future skipper and if the teenager continues to make strides, international honours and a lucrative move to one of Europe's top leagues are likely to follow.

He says …
"I was outside the stadium all the time when I was younger. I would be trying to get autographs and pictures with the likes of Henrik Larsson and Bobo Baldé. I know what it's like to be out there, so it's a dream come true to be on the other side. It also means I'll always stop if anyone wants anything, because I know what it's like [to be a supporter]."