Lucas Torreira started out as an attacker but is now more than happy to be Arsenal’s enforcer as he settles into life in the Premier League.
The 22-year-old 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, scoring some brilliant goals in the process and moving to within two points of the top of the table.
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.”
Standing at just 5’4, Torreira’s diminutive stature has already seen the former Pescara man earn his own chant among Arsenal supporters.
“It’s a beautiful thing,” he said when asked about having a song in his honour.
“It fills me with so much pride every time I go onto the pitch and they sing for me or applaud me for what I have done.
“It’s really beautiful and I appreciate it. I am extremely proud to be at Arsenal and hopefully we can enjoy many things together.
“It’s a great challenge and a new challenge for me. I’m the kind of person who likes to fight for these things, to always be fighting my way up, like my dad always tells me. I am so happy.
“I’m getting to know London and taking on the challenge of learning English so I can communicate with my team-mates.
“That’s something that’s not only important for football but also for life. The important thing now is to continue growing and to continue showing this.”