Lucas Torreira

(Uruguay and Sampdoria)

Lucas Torreira has been a breakout star for Sampdoria this season and should push his way into the Uruguay starting XI too, writes Nick Valerio.

The Sampdoria youngster has enjoyed a breakout season in Italy, helping his club finish in a respectable 10th place.

Lucas Torreira hit the headlines for his performances against Milan, Atalanta, and, most notably against the champions Juventus for his dominant displays in the middle of the park. The Uruguayan has caught the eye of a host of top clubs, both in Serie A and on the continent and a solid World Cup showing will almost certainly guarantee a big money move after the tournament concludes.

Torreira is a tenacious talent, famed for striking from distance as well as his crunching tackles that have set the tone for Doria this campaign. He made the most ball recoveries in Serie A this season and is a key figure when building attacks, relishing the opportunity to run at opposition defences.

Interestingly, the 22-year-old was strongly linked with pledging his allegiance to the Azzurri in November 2017, until the country of his birth gave him a first call up in March of this year. Despite only featuring once for La Celeste, Torreira should come in to contention for a starting berth against Egypt and will battle it out with Juventus midfielder Rodrigo Bentancur and Inter playmaker Matias Vecino.

While Edinson Cavani and Luis Suarez understandably receive the bulk of the plaudits, it will be Torreira and company who will be tasked with keeping the opposition at bay and supplying the service to the side’s two world class performers.

Uruguay should be confident of progressing as group winners and have quietly put together a very good side. There is a strong front six and an Atletico Madrid axis in Diego Godin and Jose Gimenez, with the former arguably one of the best three centre-halves on the continent.

Ex-Lazio stopper Fernando Muslera is another familiar face for the avid calcio viewer and will take his place between the sticks for La Celeste.