Overview of Player
Name: Lucas Torreira
World Cup Influence: 8/10
Lucas Torreira, Sampdoria’s gritty 22 year old midfielder, hails from the small Uruguayan town of Fray Bentos. He made his professional debut in Serie B for Pescara back in 2014/15 and has since excelled, a summer transfer to Sampdoria for the low fee of £1.5m saw him make his Serie A debut and since, Marco Giampaolo has the 22 year old as his first name on the team sheet playing 33 league games this season.
Having gained stock this season with many impressive displays for the Blucerchiati, he made his international debut for Uruguay in the China Cup recording a victory against the Czech Republic. As a result of his impressive performances, Uruguay manager, Oscar Tabarez, has selected Torreira in his 2018 World Cup squad.
Overview of Nation
Uruguay can boast being the first ever winners of the World Cup back in 1930 and have since then only managed to win it once more in 1950 but since have just stumbled at the last hurdle having failed to make it past the semi-finals.
Having failed to qualify for the 2006 World Cup, Uruguay appointed Oscar Tabarez and he, in turn, reinvigorated the national team. Since 2006, Uruguay have found themselves in the semi-finals of the 2010 World Cup and Copa America champions in 2011. They should only face one real test in their group via Russia, but should see themselves comfortably through. If stars like Suarez and Cavani can continue to shine this campaign, and their backline are as assured as expected from dogged South American’s, there is no reason why Uruguay will not be able to find themselves deep in the tournament tree.
Performance of Player in Qualification
Torreira wasn’t selected in any of the qualifying squads but was selected during the China Cup and for subsequent friendlies. Uruguay had a mixed bag in terms of their qualification, they qualified second behind Brazil but suffered 5 losses, most notably to Ecuador and Peru, both of which you would usually expect Uruguay to coast past.
Also a slight worry for Uruguay was their failure to beat either Argentina or Brazil in qualifying which could suggest that when they face one of the larger nations in the knockout stages, they could find themselves on the wrong end of a result.
Why he’s One to Watch
Torreira has been instrumental in allowing Sampdoria’s youthful side to flourish in Serie A this season, Giampaolo has deployed Torreira at the base of a three man midfield in a 4-3-1-2 and his presence certainly hasn’t gone unnoticed. This season has seen a new dimension added to the Uruguayan’s game, an increase to an 82% take-on completion has seen Torreira find new means of beating the opponents press, combined with a pass completion of 87% have demonstrated his surety and fantastic ability to recycle the ball in midfield – a key component to Sampdoria’s early over-achievement.
A further addition to his repertoire this season has been his attacking threat, Torreira has taken more long shots and contributed 4 goals whilst doing so. This may not seem a large amount, but for his role within the team this is very impressive and has shown that there is a lot more to his game than a mere defensive role.
Torreira’s only real weakness comes through no fault of his own, he only measures in at 5’6″ which means he struggles in the air, however, it takes nothing away from his physical prowess with him going toe-to-toe with some of the league’s strongest players. His height certainly hasn’t held back his ability, and his South American tenacious attitude has been on exhibit to the world, Torreira recorded a mind-boggling 183 ball recoveries in Serie A this season, the 2nd highest in the league, to put this into perspective, N’Golo Kante only made 15 more over the course of the 2017/18 season. Another 6 or 7 inches added and Torreira would be one of, if not the, most complete midfielder in Europe.
Torreira’s introduction to the squad could not come at a better time for Uruguay, whilst their attacking talent is phenomenal, they lack the creative ability in central midfield. In a tournament where team cohesion is never that strong, individuals can make all the difference and Torreira’s playmaking and defensive capabilities will be sure to aid them both against the large nations and the smaller. The transition between defence and attack is often key in matches, Torreira can be this link and his technical qualities will help alleviate pressure off the Uruguayan defence and also kick-start offensive moves.
The question will be whether Torreira can transfer his league form onto the international stage but there is no reason to think not, a strong World Cup will almost certainly see his name bounce amongst the rumours concerning the biggest clubs in the world and who knows where he will be playing his club football come August. But one thing is for sure, Lucas Torreira is a player who can go right to the top.
Video of Player/Compliation
Lucas Torreira compilation of his most recent season.
Football Manager Attributes
As can be seen, he possess fairly high physical stats for his age, although I would argue his strength stat is lower than it should, strong aggression, anticipation and passing all demonstrate the type of player that Torreira is and the influence that he can bring to La Celeste this summer.
This isn’t the only ‘One to Watch’, we are releasing a one to watch article for every nation in the World Cup. An hour before each team kick off their first World Cup Group Stage game, we will release that nations one to watch. These can be viewed here – One to Watch for all Nations in World Cup 2018
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