For as long as he can remember, Gerard Deulofeu has been tipped for the very top; as a kid he was precociously talented and made a meteoric rise through the ranks at FC Barcelona's fabled La Masia academy. As a star for the B team, Deulofeu set the Segunda Division alight with a string of sensational performances, scoring 18 goals in just 33 appearances in their memorable 2012/13 campaign before making a loan move to the English Premier League and Everton. It was there that Deulofeu was expected to display the talent that would earn him his Barcelona breakthrough, yet he left Merseyside with his Barca future in limbo.
While he impressed in spells, Deulofeu wasn't consistent enough to earn a place in Roberto Martinez' starting line-up and rather than challenge Pedro for a place as Barcelona's back-up forward, Gerard was shipped off again -- this time locally, to Sevilla where Unai Emery was waiting to mould the young Catalan into a star.
At least, that was the plan and once again, Deulofeu finds himself in exile, all but frozen out of the first team picture in recent weeks -- including this past weekend where he was left out of the squad to face his parent club, FC Barcelona. The decision caught some by surprise, particularly given the promise that Deulofeu continues to demonstrate at Under-21 level for the Spanish National Team, but Sevilla management have shed some light on the decision, with Sporting Director Monchi giving us his two cents on Deulofeu's development:
"Deulofeu is a great player, but he has to learn to live with the elite"
The implied message is clear for all to see; Deulofeu has the talent, but he still doesn't have the attitude or the maturity to apply it correctly on the field and that's holding him back. Until he learns to play with a little more humility, to perhaps stop believing his own hype and start earning his reputation, his rise to the top might well be delayed indefinitely.