What to expect from Udinese’s Gabriel Torje

Gabriel Torje is your quintessential footballing starlet – young, fast and partial to a sex scandal or two, the Romanian is bursting with raw talent that yearns to be developed.
Udinese, the team that has turned scouting talent into an art form, were spell-bound by him and his contributions to Dinamo Bucuresti and after selling star play Alexis Sanchez to Barcelona, Torje was regarded as the footballer who would, in time, fill his shoes.
Asked to describe his role by the Italian journalists sent out to meet him, Torje replied: “I’m a trequartista who can go left, right or through the middle.” Pressed further and he went on to say he is a player that prefers to deliver assists as opposed to scoring goals and admitted to feeling the pressure, after arriving at a big league and being expected to perform to Sanchez levels.
Despite his humble nature and awkward demeanour, it became fairly obvious that this was a player who will not shy away from a challenge. Having spurned a hefty offer from Russia, he opted to play in Serie A because he felt Italy was the country that would allow him to ‘grow as a player’ and fulfil his potential so that he may climb the ladder of success, with Juventus being his target destination.
Having been mentored by Romania’s national treasure, Gheorghe Hagi, the diminutive player with a low centre of gravity boasts an abundance of speed, excellent ball control and a powerful shot. Close to perfect on set pieces, his flexibility and mobility makes him a tough player to mark but his secret weapon is his strong personality and his hunger for success.
So eager to receive the proverbial pat on the back, the youngster has worked tirelessly to develop as a player and to limit the weaknesses that hinders his performances. Having started out as a boy who tired easily and possessed only one good foot, he worked diligently to improve his stamina and dedicated hours to playing with only his weaker foot so that he may strengthen as a player.
Watching his Serie A debut against Lecce and the boy who had only started training with the team days earlier drew attention for his affinity with the ball and his seamless introduction to a new team. Delivering an assist, his sensational dribbling and ability to shake off defenders earned him top marks from the usually cynical Gazzetta dello Sport writers.
However, much like Sanchez in his first year, his moments of brilliance are likely to be accompanied by anonymous performances. Against Milan he showed flashes of excellence, but he also proved that he was a rough diamond in need of a polish as he attempted to make an impact despite Mark Van Bommel’s tight marking. Constantly finding himself offside, the player showed poor judgement, made naive decisions and failed to use his apparent vision to deliver the necessary pass.
More than just a question of refining his talent, Udinese’s Coach Francesco Guidolin will also need to keep the so-called Romanian Messi on a tight leash considering his penchant for a naughty dalliance or two. Labelled as the most gifted Romanian midfielder of his generation, it appears the boy who hails from Timisoara in western Romania has let the fame get to his head. He was frequently reported to have indulged in wild parties, staying up late and gracing the tabloid’s front pages to eventually earn the comical nickname ‘The Porno Midget’.
If he plans on making the desired impact at Udinese, then the player will have to leave his immature ways at the door and prepare to work under the highly-rated Guidolin – the man regarded as the ideal Coach to develop talent. Thankfully, his ambition is likely to see him prioritise football and develop his skills to one day fulfil his potential.

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