Mikel Arteta was very pleased with Lucas Torreira’s contribution to the win against Wolves on Saturday and says it’s a testament to the player’s commitment that he was able to deliver on the pitch after a long injury.
Having spent the whole lockdown period recovering from the ankle fracture he picked up against Portsmouth in March, the midfielder was visibly buoyed by the chance to play again when he featured for the final seven minutes of the 2-0 win against Wolves on Saturday.
“It’s been really tough for Lucas in the last few months,” said Arteta before Tuesday’s clash with Leicester.
“He had a really difficult injury, the lockdown was here, he travelled away but since he came here, you look at him, the way he trains every day.
“I knew against Wolves, I can throw him in for 10, 15, 20 minutes, he’s going to give you absolutely everything.
“For a player who has been out for such a long time to make the impact that he made, that’s a credit to him.”
In the absence of Matteo Guendouzi, who continues to be disciplined, Torreira will now go head-to-head with Dani Ceballos for a starting berth alongside Granit Xhaka in the final weeks of the season. Given his high energy game, he should be good fit.
Torreira wasn’t the only South American to earn praise from the boss. Back-up goalkeeper Emi Martinez has excelled since coming in for Bernd Leno. While he might have done better for Neal Maupay’s winner at Brighton, he’s gone on to keep three clean sheets in four wins and shown solid handling skills, fast distribution and decent feet.
Having been at the club for the best part of a decade, he’s taken his long-awaited opportunity for a run of first team games with both gloved hands.
“That’s what he’s been trying to do for a long period now at the club,” said Arteta.
“As I said before, his preparation and his attitude has always been spot on. He’s been very respectful and very patient and now that he has the opportunity, he is grabbing it.
“At this level it’s not about two, three, eight or 10 games. It’s about the consistency over a lot of games and that’s what he needs to prove now.”