£30m Manchester United attacking target breaks David de Gea's record

David De Gea Spain

Exciting attacker Iker Muniain broke a record held by David de Gea, which is a bit of a dubious honour.

Long-time Manchester United target Iker Muniain featured for Spain's under-21 side against Germany's last night, helping them on their way to a 2-0 win.

The friendly match saw a routine finish from Real Madrid's Alvaro Morata and a more spectacular one from Isco, as an incredibly strong Spain side showed their class.

The match held significance for Muniain, who set a national record simply by turning up.

The Athletic Bilbao man notched up a 28th appearance at under-21 level for La Roja, breaking a record he had shared on 27 caps with Manchester United man David de Gea.

Former Atletico Madrid man Santi Denia, also sat on 27 games, but now Muniain holds the honour all on his own.

While in some ways a reason to be proud, it's a bit of a dubious honour too. Muniain, 21, has to contend with the concern that while he has been consistent enough to warrant regular appearances at youth level, he has not shown enough to build on the single senior cap he has to his name.

In truth his career has taken a bit of a slow-burn route rather than the rapid ascendency to the top it appeared to be taking two years ago, when he led his Bilbao side to tear Manchester United apart at Old Trafford in the Europa League under the guidance of Marcelo Bielsa.

It's this which led to Bilbao placing a £30 million release clause in his contract, to deter potential suitors from snapping him up and refusing to negotiate for any less.

Last season was a nightmare for the entire Bilbao squad, racked by the departure of Javi Martinez and impending one of Fernando Llorente. This campaign they have bounced back and after holding onto Ander Herrera, they are the lead contenders at present for Spain's fourth Champions League spot, six points clear of fifth placed Villareal.

Muniain has six goals to his name, and three assists in that time, a regular for the side. Yet with Juan Mata at Manchester United and under-21 teammate Isco of Real Madrid also missing out on Spain's senior squad, you wouldn't expect the Bilbao man to spring a surprise.

That's where the dubious nature of this record becomes an honour. In a country with a wealth of talent like Spain, there is no reason for Muniain to feel unfortunate that he is overlooked, when there are more senior players like Mata who can't even make the squad.

If he gets the chance to show what he can do in the Champions League next season, then that could just provide his opening. 

image: © 3oheme

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