Ian Wright praises Arsenal midfielder Lucas Torreira and takes subtle dig at Unai Emery

The Uruguayan was back in the starting XI for Wednesday’s clash with Liverpool (Picture: Getty)

Ian Wright appeared to aim a subtle dig at Unai Emery’s decision to leave Lucas Torreira out the Arsenal starting XI this season, praising his performance when returned to his usual midfield berth.

The Uruguayan enforcer has only started twice in the Premier League this season despite the Gunners’ sub-par performances, while Emery has rather confusingly been playing him in a more advanced role.

He was brought back into the team on Wednesday night against Liverpool as Emery heavily rotated his squad, scoring his side’s first goal in a thrilling 5-5 draw that was decided on penalties as Liverpool progressed.

He was sitting deep once again at Anfield, with Joe Willock and Mesut Ozil further ahead, and gave a performance that suggests he should be in contention to play in the Premier League on Saturday.

Gunners legend Wright has routinely called for Torreira to come into the side and provide more protection, and made his feelings clear when he replied to an Instagram post from the Uruguayan.

Torreira had uploaded pictures of his goal, with Wright responding: ‘In your position doing what we know you can do!!!!!’

Ian Wright appears to throw shade at Unai Emery over Lucas Torreira

With doubts over whether Granit Xhaka will be involved against Wolves on Saturday after his clash with fans last weekend, Torreira’s return to the fold could be an easy problem-solver.

Although Xhaka was voted as captain by his peers, his performances have been far from spectacular, and there have been calls from fans to see a midfield of Torreira and Matteo Guendouzi, with either Ozil or Dani Ceballos further forward pulling strings.

Emery has been trying to turn Torreira into more of a box-to-box threat (Picture: Getty)

Defending Torreira’s change of role, Emery explained: ‘I am very happy with him and we need him. Then we use different structures in different matches and he has confidence. I was speaking with him about his best position to help us in our shape. It depends on the shape. Last season his best position was playing as a deep midfield two alongside Xhaka or Matteo.

‘This year we are playing also sometimes with just one and he can achieve with his quality to get to the box and get closer to score. He is very intelligent about getting space around the box and taking chances.

‘Then also, when we prepare the team to do high pressing, for us he is very important because he is very intelligent tactically, but he can play in the two positions. [Either as] one of the two midfielders [or] he can play higher for the pressing and to get into the box. Sometimes we also use him as a one-man in midfield doing the covering for the two other players ahead.’

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