Over the years, Turkey has produced a number of top class footballers, including the likes of; Rustu Recber, Hakan Sukur and Emre Belozoglu. Nowadays the national side is lead out by FC Barcelona’s Arda Turan, but The Crescent Stars have whole host of players looking to put their name up in lights. Here are five players, you should look out for at this summer’s European Championships in France.
Not only does he lead the national side, he provides a unique style of football for his club. Most of the time he comes off the bench as one might expect, because it’s very difficult to get ahead of the likes of Lionel Messi, Neymar and Andres Iniesta, but when he does get a chance, he shows what he is capable of.
A workhorse with incredible footwork, Arda is a footballer that can lead any team to glory. His passing range is up there with the worlds best, but his ability to manoeuvre past any player in the world sets him apart from the rest. This summer’s tournament could be a chance for him to showcase his skills and move to a team where he can play week in week out and at the age of 29, he may only have a few more years left in him.
Since scoring that famous 50-yard free-kick against Borussia Dortmund, the Turk left Hamburger SV and has become a mainstay in the Bayer 04 Leverkusen squad. The young attacking midfielder proved that free-kick wasn’t a one off and has been scoring goals from a variety of different areas on the field.
His set-piece ability is unrivalled, it’s very easy to suggest he is the best in the world from a deadball situation and it would be very hard to argue against that point. However, Calhanoglu is a very skilled individual, known for being dangerous on either foot, he can twist and turn through defences, pick a killer pass or grab himself a goal.
The Besiktas man is suspended for the first two group stage matches, but if manager Fatih Terim decides to keep Tore in the final 23 man squad, the winger could prove to be crucial in the final group stage game against the Czech Republic and if Turkey progressed out of the group stage, Tore would provide skills that are hard to come by.
Standing at five-foot-nine the Turk has a similar playing style to Stoke City winger Xherdan Shaqiri, small in stature but possesses strength that would surprise any opponent. Tore can play on either wing and sometimes takes up a striker role; he has a powerful left footed shot and combine that with his strength, raw pace and fantastic dribbling abilities, he could prove to be a handful when it matters the most.
He has recently been linked with West Ham United and if the Hammers do wrap up a deal for the electric winger, he could certainly light up the Premier League next season.
Many wont know this, but the 23-year-old used to be on the books at Arsenal but his time in North London didn’t come to fruition. Now plying his trade back home in Turkey and for Besiktas, the central midfielder has made quite a name for himself since returning.
Ozyakup is an attack minded central midfielder but he is very capable of tracking back and helping his team defensively. The midfield man has an exceptional passing range, often deployed as a holding midfielder alongside Canada’s Atiba Hutchinson, Ozyakup is given license to roam around the field, dispossessing the opposition and finding that killer pass on the attack.
Like Gokhan Tore, Ozyakup has been linked with a move to West Ham and if they both move, their partnership at Besiktas could prove very useful for Slaven Bilic’s side.
With Burak Yilmaz and Mevlut Erdinc being 30 and 29 respectively, 24 year-old Cenk Tosun will provide youth up-front. The Besiktas man is slowly becoming Turkey’s number one striker.
Despite only playing eight times for the national side, Tosun has scored three goals and his combination of being able to score with both feet and being a threat in the air will provide a useful one if manager Fatih Terim decides to deploy Tosun as the number one striker.
He has a knack at turning provider as well he is very good at holding the ball up and feeding passes into the overlapping runners. Tosun has it all, pace, power and the ability to finish with either foot or his head, he could become a very important part of Turkey’s success this summer.
The national side is littered with other top class players including; Caner Erkin, Ozan Tufan and Yunus Malli. This summer will be the perfect stage for them to showcase what they can do and maybe earn themselves a move to one of Europe’s big clubs.
Turkey begin their campaign against Croatia on the 12th June before facing European champions Spain and finally rounding off their group stage campaign against the Czech Republic.
They will be hoping to progress far into the competition like they did in 2008, when they reached the semi-finals before losing 3-2 Germany. This year, they have a team that can go far, but it all depends on how they perform.