How brilliant is the EURO Under-21 Tournament Ambassador for Hungary Péter Gulácsi? | Under 21
Péter Gulácsi, Under-21 EURO ambassador for Hungary, caught his country’s attention at the 2009 FIFA U-20 World Cup and the goalkeeper kept that promise in a trip which took him from Liverpool to Leipzig.
Gulácsi was just 17 when Liverpool recruited him, and although his time in England was mainly marked by lower division loans, he became a key part of Leipzig’s growth towards UEFA notoriety. Champions League. We follow its rise.
• Gulácsi was part of Hungary’s squad at the 2006 UEFA European Under-17 Championship in Luxembourg, his only appearance in the 4-0 loss to the hosts on the eve of his 16th birthday.
• Gulácsi, who got a taste of the senior squad in a friendly against Croatia in May 2008, helped Hungary advance to the EURO U19 semi-finals in July, including a defeat 1-0 against Spain, which earned him a trip to the 2009 FIFA U-20 World Cup. Cup.
• He played a crucial role when Hungary won a bronze medal in Egypt, with two cleansheets in the group stage and won two shots on goal, saving three kicks in the third place game against Costa Rica .
• At that point, Gulácsi was already the first pick for the Hungarian Under-21 squad and was due to make 26 appearances, but never got the chance to make the Under-21 EURO finals 21 years old.
• Gulácsi’s senior Hungary debut took place on May 22, 2014 against Denmark, and he went to UEFA EURO 2016 as Gábor Király’s understudy.
• Upon Király’s retirement, Gulácsi became Hungary’s No.1 senior and helped them win the UEFA EURO 2020 qualifying play-offs, beating Bulgaria and Iceland. The Hungarian co-hosts will play two of their group matches in Budapest.
• Named Hungarian Player of the Year by both MLSZ and media votes in 2018 and 2019.
• When he joined local Budapest club BVSC at the age of five, Gulácsi’s size meant he was quickly placed in goal.
• At 13, Gulácsi joined the Sándor Károly Academy of MTK Budapest, and over the next four years he rose through the ranks, when he started to be part of Hungary’s national youth teams.
Liverpool and English loans
• In 2007, Gulácsi moved to Liverpool as part of its partnership with the Sándor Károly Academy. He made his reserve debut on November 27 of the same year against Manchester City alongside compatriot Krisztián Németh.
• In September 2008, Gulácsi joined Liverpool’s first team full time and was named twice to the English League Cup bench.
• Gulácsi was loaned out to Hereford United, Third Division, and made his league debut on 14 February 2009 against Cheltenham Town. Three days later he saved a penalty kick in a 2-0 loss to Leeds United – Gulácsi’s first two games were the first time the Bulls had won twice in a row all season and he remained the goalkeeper of Hereford’s first choice the rest of the season.
• After several appearances for Liverpool’s first team in the 2009 pre-season, Gulácsi signed a new contract until 2013.
• However, although occasionally named a substitute, he was behind Pepe Reina and Diego Cavalieri in the pecking order and never played for Liverpool’s first team in a competitive game, instead being loaned to the Tranmere Rovers third level in 2009/10 and 2010/11 and championship side Hull City the following season.
• In June 2013, Liverpool released Gulácsi and he joined Salzburg; the following month, he made his first top-flight appearance of his career as he quickly established himself as No.1.
• He proved successful, winning the Austrian double in his two seasons at Salzburg before moving on to ambitious Leipzig in 2. Bundesliga.
• Despite initially lining Fabio Coltorti, Gulácsi had the opportunity to play 33 minutes after the winter break, against Eintracht Braunschweig, when the Swiss goalkeeper was injured. Gulácsi seized his chance and immediately established himself as a starter as Leipzig finished second to win a promotion to the top flight for the first time.
• Gulácsi missed just one Bundesliga game the following season as Leipzig finished second to win their UEFA Champions League debut.
• He continued to impress in 2017/18, not only playing in the UEFA Champions League, but also being named Kicker magazine goalkeeper for the first half of the Bundesliga season, based on their weekly scores. He also signed a two-year contract extension, hiring him until 2022.
• Gulácsi has been crucial in keeping Leipzig in contention for the German title – in 2018/19 neither side conceded fewer goals than Leipzig’s 29.
• In 2019/20, Gulácsi and his Leipzig team-mate Willi Orban became the first Hungarians to make the semi-final of the UEFA Champions League since the competition took that mark in 1992/93.
What he says
On his experience of the junior finals for Hungary
“By finishing third in the Under-19 EURO, we qualified for the Under-20 World Cup, and there we managed to achieve a sensational result by finishing third. That’s 11 years since then. To this day this is something that we are very proud of, and it was only a youth tournament. Many people said that this team could continue to be successful with the Hungarian senior team If not with the same players, this success has had repercussions in the Hungarian senior national team, with the team qualifying for two EUROs. “
On the U-20 World Cup bronze medal match with Costa Rica in Egypt
“Thank goodness I managed to save three penalties, it was an unforgettable experience for me. Hosting a U21 tournament is very similar to a senior tournament – if we look at the stadiums it’s almost like a senior tournament. , we were playing in full stadiums. There were over 50,000 people there, so it was really like an introduction to senior football. Being able to experience that has also helped my career a lot. “
On the succession of Gábor Király for Hungary
“I have known Gábor Király for a very long time. It is no coincidence that he was the goalkeeper of the Hungarian national team for so long. Obviously, for me, taking his place one day was an open secret. Fortunately , my club career went well, because at the time I had just been promoted to the Bundesliga with RB Leipzig. to the national team. Since then we have had a great relationship, and both in as a pro and as a person Gábor Király is a top level guy. The fact that I got to be there at EURO with him – learning from him but also from other goalkeepers – that was great. J tried to take what he did and apply it to my game. “
On qualifying for UEFA EURO 2020
“We’ve probably taken the longest path to get there, but this success has redeemed us and it will be a huge deal. We will play two games at home and hopefully in front of fans. It’s just a feeling. indescribable. “
On Hungary co-hosting U21 EURO 2021
“I am very proud because I have also participated in several youth tournaments. I did not have the chance to play in a home tournament but I can imagine how it will be. It is a very good opportunity to see where we are there and we are experiencing the pressure and the tense situations that come with great competition. For all the players who participate, it will be a huge experience for their future, and I hope we will be successful. “
On a potential legacy for the Hungarian U21s
“In a youth tournament the question is always whether it is better to be a good team or if some players can progress to the senior team? I think at U21 level both are important. To be a good one. team is certainly important in terms of long term goals. But it is just as important that the players who are good on the team move forward and develop step by step, and if this tournament helps them take it one step further, so the tournament served its purpose. “