Gary Neville rates Lucas Torreira’s start at Arsenal

The Man United legend raves about Lucas Torreira's start to life at Arsenal

Man United legend Gary Neville Photo: Sky Sports

Gary Neville has credited Lucas Torreira with having a “big impact” at Arsenal following his summer move.

The Uruguay international completed a £26m move to Arsenal from Serie A giants Sampdoria in the 2018 summer transfer window.

Torreira completed a move to the north London side ahead of Uruguay’s World Cup campaign in the summer.

The 22-year-old earned plenty of his plaudits for his performances in the major tournament in Russia to leave Arsenal fans excited about his arrival.

Arsenal manager Unai Emery initially used Torreira sparingly in his Gunners team in the opening weeks of the Premier League season.

However, the summer signing has been a huge hit since breaking into the Arsenal team and holding down a regular starting spot.

His tenacious performances have won over Arsenal supporters and Torreira has already become a fans’ favourite at The Emirates.

Torreira scored his first Premier League goal in a 4-2 win over Spurs in the north London derby earlier this month before his winner in a 1-0 victory over Huddersfield Town at the weekend.

Former Manchester United defender Neville has been impressed with Torreira’s impact at Arsenal.

“I’ve been massively impressed,” Neville told Sky Sports’ Monday Night Football.

“I watched him in the World Cup. I did the France vs Uruguay game live and he was tenacious. In the first half an hour to 40 minutes you thought he gets around the pitch and he’s like a terrier, but then actually as France started to get on top he started to get dominated.

“Obviously Uruguay got a bit desperate but with the likes of Paul Pogba and Blaise Matuidi in midfield and Antoine Griezmann dropping in, I just remember thinking he couldn’t get around the pitch.

“So when Arsenal signed him you just wondered how it would be? But his impact upon that team is huge. I think it’s the biggest impact actually if you think about the character Arsenal have shown this season in terms of the second-half performances, keeping going and the tempo they sometimes set in games.

“I think someone like him leaves his team-mates with nowhere to go. We’ve talked about Arsenal’s approach to games over the last two or three years and there was never that feeling that you felt as though it mattered at times. At times in big matches they always disappointed and you felt there wasn’t a leader out on the pitch for the players to look towards.

“If you look at him in that derby last week against Tottenham getting forward into the box he’s almost like this bundle of energy that everyone else in the team responds too, and this team needed that.

“With this Arsenal player over this three, four, five, six years that they’ve needed you’ve always got this picture of Emmanuel Petit and Patrick Vieira in your mind – a strong presence in midfield.

“He’s diminutive, not very big but then he’s tenacious. He gets into the box and he’s scored two goals in the last week. He’s good on the ball, he’s tidy on the ball and takes it and shows courage. He’s a massive upgrade on where they’ve been but most of all the impact he’s having on Arsenal’s mentality is huge.”

Torreira was one of five new signings at Arsenal in the summer after Emery signed Bernd Leno, Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Stephan Lichtsteiner and Matteo Geundouzi.

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