Unai Emery has challenged Lucas Torreira to improve if he wants to hold down a regular spot in Arsenal's midfield.

The 23-year-old has been in and out of the Gunners' line-up this season, leading to speculation that he will leave the club in the near future.

Torreira's agent Pablo Bantancur revealed his client was unhappy at having his role in the team changed, with Emery utilising him in a more advanced position.

Now the Arsenal boss has laid down the gauntlet to the Uruguayan if he wants to stake his claim for a starting berth.

“Lucas played well last year. This year he’s not been consistent," Emery said. "My challenge to him is to improve, do better with tactical issues, but above all be consistent.

Emery has challenged Torreira to be more consistent
Emery has challenged Torreira to be more consistent

“He is young. His process here is starting. He only started playing in the Premier League last year.

“He progressed, but this year he needs to progress again. He is a very good, important player for us, and his focus needs to be with us 100%.

“Being a defensive midfielder is a big responsibility. He needs to achieve confidence, play more matches and get more experience to get that confidence.

“He can play that role - but we need a defensive midfielder to be offensive."

Torreira has made most of his appearances this season as a substitute
Torreira has made most of his appearances this season as a substitute

Torreira impressed last season following his arrival at the Emirates, and produced man of the match displays in the clashes with Tottenham and Liverpool .

However he has been selected to start just four of Arsenal's 12 Premier League matches so far this campaign.

Emery added: "He can learn and improve but he needs time. He’s helping us. His contribution is positive, but he needs to be demanding more of himself. When his process is better and he has more experience, he can take more responsibility.

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“His response was positive. We showed him how he can improve. He’s a good player - he has very big commitment.

“Right now he’s helping us with his capacity to get in the box to get opportunities to score.

“He is in a process, but his process needs to improve. He has a very big future here but he needs to think and improve. He has to learn in some situations to do better.”