Gerard Deulofeu is Finally Ready to Step Up to the Next Level... Again

Etienne Capoue pings a zinging cross-field pass to the left, Gerard Deulofeu nonchalantly sticks out his leg and kills it, dead. 

It's a sublime touch that leads to an assist for Adam Masina's first goal for the club against ​Everton on Saturday afternoon. Watford have been struggling this season but Deulofeu has again been a shining light for the Hornets. 

The once prodigious talent appears to be maturing into a proper ​Premier League player who should be playing for a ​Champions League team.

​​Catalan by birth, Deulofeu achieved a goal that most only dream of; playing for your boyhood club. He didn't just play, he excelled. Gerard made his debut for ​Barcelona at 18 and netted 27 times for the Barcelona B team. 

At the 2012 European Under-19 Championships, he won player of the tournament in a competition that featured ​Paul Pogba, Saul Ñiguez, and ​Harry Kane. Deulofeu is a player who had plenty of hype. He was seen as the next torchbearer. 

However, it didn't work out that way. Already, Deulofeu has been something of a journeyman in his short career. Two separate stops at ​Everton, a year at ​Milan, a brief spell at Sevilla, a return to Barcelona, and finally, Watford.

A lot for a 25-year-old. A player who's so highly regarded doesn't usually bounce around that much. However, such is the talent that he possesses, top teams will always be willing to take the risk on him once again.

Adam Masina,Gerard Deulofeu

The running theme between each of those spells at each of those clubs is that Deloufeu wasn't given consistent time in the starting eleven. Often relegated to a bench role, the winger couldn't establish himself in the team. However, when the Hornets have given him extended game time and a starting position, he has rewarded them with some brilliant moments. 

The directness of Deulofeu's game is something to admire. With a low centre of gravity and a real burst of acceleration, the Spaniard is able to ghost past defenders. Boasting great vision as well, every action that Deulofeu takes is with a single purpose; to score goals.

Initially, it seemed that Deulofeu would be more Bojan than ​Messi, and while he clearly won't hit the heights of the latter, Deulofeu is becoming a regular contributor in the Premier League. Against ​Cardiff last year, he became the first Watford player to score a Premier League hat-trick, as evidenced below in what must be the glitziest video of any Premier League club on YouTube. Props to Watford's editor/DJ.

​​While Deloufeu has had moments this year, he's still lacked the consistency to regularly impact games. Watford are in real trouble and desperately need their star player to, at least, hit the heights of last season. 

However, he's the man for the big occasion. His sumptuous chip against Wolves in last year's FA Cup semi-final was an underrated goal, and there aren't many players in world football that would attempt the technique that he showcased for that strike. 

Watford's poor play this year also coincided with the absence of club legend, Troy Deeney. With Deeney in the team, Watford are able to utilise Deloufeu's qualities more. As Deeney becomes the target man, Deloufeu is able to stretch teams by running in behind. 

Deeney is so important to how Watford plays because he occupies defenders' space and attention, enabling Watford's wingers to play more. Deeney is a good player but it's the role of allowing Deloufeu more time on the ball that makes him so crucial to the team

If Watford get relegated this year, there will be a host of suitors for the Spaniard. 

Work rate and defensive application is an issue for the winger but ultimately, he gives so much going forward. If he's able to showcase this level of attacking quality in a team that doesn't dominate possession, imagine what he'll do in one that does. 

Source : 90min