Gerard Deulofeu: goals and caps record for Spain's Under-21s
The Everton player will equal Iker Muniain's appearances record against Austria on Friday. He is already the joint all-time top scorer on 15 goals.
He's the captain and the emblematic, standard bearer for Spain's Under-21s; and against Austria on Friday, Gerard Deulofeu will equal the appearances record in the category when he will make his 31st appearance for Spain's second string, bringing him level with Iker Munian. Albert Celades' team hope to take a good result from the first leg of their Play-Off in Sankt Pölten, and will be relying on the 22-year-old Everton midfielder to see La Rojita come home with the goods.
Appearances and goals record
Barring any unforeseen events, Deulofeu will surely overtake Muniain and make the record his own when Spain's Under-21s welcome Austria to Albacete for the return leg on Tuesday. “I'm very happy to have got this far with the Under-21s. I've spent a while chatting to Iker, telling him that I am going to take his record. We're great friends. I do think about the senior side but being with the lads in the Under-21s makes me feel good. The important thing now is that we take both of these games forward and make sure we qualify for the Euros”, Deulofeu told AS this week. He is also the top scorer in the history of Spain's Under-21 team with 15 goals, sharing the honour with Valencia's Rodrigo.
Julen Lopetegui handed Deulofeu his debut for the Under-21s in the goalless draw against Switzerland in September 2012 - even though the player had barely turned 18. The coach knew him from his time with the Under-19s with whom he had been crowned a European champion for two years running.
Next wave of players
The teenage Deulofeu was part of Spain's new generation of players which included De Gea, Bartra, Thiago, Illarramendi, and Koke. “Statistically, my time with the Under-21s has been very productive but what I really want is for the team to classify for Euro 2017 Poland and go on to win it. I've been lucky enough to have had some great team mates and I've made some special friendships - and that's very important too. We get along well and have a great time and I think that's reflected in our football on the pitch. Now we have to do our job in the Play-Offs against Austria”, Deulofeu said.
And while his time with the Under-21s is coming to an end, Deulofeu will be hoping he gets a chance to continue his international career with the senior side. He's been capped once, in a friendly against Bolivia in 2014. “You always think about playing for the senior side and hoping that phone call will come. That's what we are all working for”.
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