​Arsenal manager Unai Emery claims Lucas Torreira "needs to improve" to keep his place in their starting lineup this season, suggesting that the Uruguay international also has to adopt Granit Xhaka's role at the club.

The 23-year-old has made 15 appearances across all competitions this season, but Torreira's recent back-to-back starts in the Premier League have only come as a result of Xhaka's absence.

Torreira is closer than he's ever been to being a guaranteed starter at Arsenal, and while Emery lauded him for his work rate, he's stressed that the defensive midfielder still needs to improve the attacking side of his game.

Lucas Torreira,Unai Emery

"At the moment he’s helping us like two midfielders, because his pressing on the opposition is the best of our midfielders and his capacity to get into the box, to get opportunities to score, is very good for us," Emery said, quoted by The Guardian.

"He has a very big future here, but he needs to improve. He has to learn in some situations to help us and do better. It’s one process. 

"He was playing good last year; this year he’s not being consistent but my challenge to him is to improve, to do better with some tactical issues on the pitch, but above all being consistent and taking that into the next matches."

Emery specifically pointed out Torreira's ability to help with Arsenal's build-up play - something which saw Xhaka feature almost every week - as to what's holding the former Sampdoria midfielder back this season.

"We need that position for the capacity to build up; it’s a big responsibility," he added. "He can play as a defensive midfielder, but we need a defensive midfielder [to be] offensive because the buildup for us is very important. 

"At the moment, to give him that responsibility as a defensive midfielder who builds up and creates a lot of combinations with our team, he needs more time. 

"He’s helping us, he’s sometimes playing well, he’s being consistent, but needs to learn and improve in that issue."

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