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Gulácsi hungry for senior success

Despite the disappointment of semi-final defeat by Italy, Péter Gulácsi believes Hungary's U19 achievements could be the springboard for future success.

Hungary goalkeeper Péter Gulácsi
Hungary goalkeeper Péter Gulácsi ©Sportsfile

Despite the disappointment of semi-final defeat by Italy, Péter Gulácsi believes Hungary's achievements at the UEFA European Under-19 Championship could be the springboard for future success.

'Winning feeling'
Hungary went down 1-0 to the Azzurrini in Plzen on Wednesday, bringing to an end a campaign that had started so promisingly with victories against Bulgaria and Spain, yet their goalkeeper is hoping that the "winning feeling" in the squad will endure. "We're happy with what we achieved but now we want to take the next step," Gulácsi told uefa.com. "What we've done is brilliant, a big success for Hungarian football, but we want to make the fans happier – that's the target for us now. The winning feeling has been really important. Before the first game no one knew how we would do but once we'd won that, everyone in the team was really confident. We need to keep that."

'Team spirit'
Twelve of Hungary's squad were also involved in the 2006 European U17 Championship and, with the FIFA U-20 World Cup to look forward to next year, Gulácsi is hopeful the unity in the team will remain. "The most important thing is our team spirit," he explained. "We have a really good team, we're friends, and that's our biggest strength. We've been together for five or six years know and know each other really well - it's like playing with friends. Everyone plays for himself and for each other as well."

'Fantastic atmosphere'
Another key factor in Hungary's impressive displays were the sizeable crowds at every game, with hundreds of supporters offering vociferous backing to Tibor Sisa's side. "The support has been really good, it made us feel like we were playing at home," Gulácsi admitted. "Those in the squad who play abroad have already played in front of lots of people, but for others it's a new feeling. That helps a lot, the atmosphere has been fantastic. In the present, this means the fans have something to cheer but for the future, if this team can stay together, maybe in a few years a few of us could be in the senior side."

'Professional and positive'
The goalkeeper knows only too well the long-term significance of youth success having won a transfer to Liverpool FC with his performances for Hungary's U17 team. "Liverpool saw me in some internationals, started to come to my club [MTK Budapest] to watch me in some more matches, then invited me to a ten-day trial and after that they wanted to sign me," he explained. "I've had one year there and it's been really different for me. The main thing is the attitude; it's more professional and everyone is focused on their job. It's been positive from the start; I just enjoy being there and try to work hard."

Aiming high
His dream of becoming a European champion – at U19 level at least – may have been dashed, but Gulácsi has lofty ambitions, saying: "Eventually I want to get into the senior international squad. At Liverpool I want to get into the first team, although that will be really difficult. Maybe I need another year in the reserves and training with the first team to gain more experience before going on loan. You can't have better than training with Steven Gerrard or Fernando Torres. I have to improve, I must be quicker off the line and more aggressive with crosses. I've improved both a lot this year and it's been easier to play in this tournament so that's a good sign."