Arteta: Tavares must seize opportunity after Tierney blow

Arteta: Tavares must seize opportunity after Tierney blow

Mikel Arteta has called on Arsenal defender Nuno Tavares to "embrace the challenge" of replacing Kieran Tierney with the Scotland international likely to miss the rest of the season with a knee injury.

The full-back did not play in Arsenal's 3-0 defeat to Crystal Palace on Monday night after reporting pain in his knee at training on Thursday.

Tierney had been playing with discomfort in the area before he joined up for international duty, and subsequently played every minute of Scotland's friendlies against Poland and Austria.

It is not known if he will be fit for Scotland's World Cup play-off semi-final with Ukraine - likely to be played in June - as Steve Clarke's side aim to qualify for their first edition of the global tournament since 1998.

Arteta was asked how he would feel if the full-back was hurried back to play in his country's play-off encounter with Ukraine and then possibly Wales, but the Spaniard is convinced the correct steps will be taken to ensure there is no setback in the rehabilitation process.

"It is a bit ambiguous but he has a significant injury," Arteta said. "We'll have to keep assessing him and he will be out for some weeks. It's an area where he had a previous injury as well. He felt it straight away and is not fit.

"Our responsibility is to look after the players while they're here but when they go to the national team, that is the job of [Scotland manager] Steve (Clarke). They picked a side to win the games. We have good communication with the national team but these things happen.