Lucas Torreira says he’s happy to have taken on a defensive role in the Arsenal midfield, despite having started out as a forward. The 22-year-old was brought over from South America to Italy as a forward but has slowly worked himself into a holding midfielder during his time in Europe.
The Uruguay international moved to the Emirates Stadium from Sampdoria in the summer – one of five signings made to improve the fortunes of the Gunners, who have missed out on the top four for the last two seasons.
Head coach Unai Emery eased Torreira into English football, using him as a substitute in the first five games of the campaign.
Since earning his first start in the Europa League win over Vorskla Poltava, Torreira has gone from strength to strength and has already become a fans’ favourite with his tenacity and work-rate.
Arsenal are on an 11-match winning run, moving them to within two points of the top of the table heading into the weekend.
Torreira believes he has given the team a good balance to allow the forwards to express themselves as he helps keep things ticking over further back.
“The most important thing for me is try to bring balance to the team, to help the defenders and support the midfielders,” he said.
“To try to help the attackers and to be constantly trying to help in ordering that. They are small things out there, but in the end they make a big difference.
“Every time you go on the pitch you try to play. Obviously I want to have fun playing with my team-mates, to get things going and to help us win – as we have been doing.
“Always lending a hand, sacrificing in defence and in attack I am available to the team, always helping.
“I arrived in Italy playing as a playmaker or an attacker. I was lucky to find a coach who put me in a more defensive position and I am totally happy in that role. I try to learn every day.”