Turkey coach Senol Günes today announced a 23-man squad to take on England in Is
Turkey coach Senol Günes today announced a 23-man squad to take on England in Istanbul a week on Saturday, recalling veteran striker Sergen Yalçin to the fold following his match-winning, two-goal display at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday...
Besiktas skipper Sergen has not actually played for his country for two years, although he was called up to the national team by Günes for last June's Euro 2004 double header with Slovakia and F.Y.R. Macedonia and was in inspirational form in west London this week, scoring both of his team's goals in their shock 2-0 Champions League win over Chelsea.
However, apart from Sergen's inclusion, the squad contains few surprises for a match which the home side need to win to top Group Seven and qualify automatically for next summer's European Championships in Portugal. Any other result will see Sven-Göran Eriksson's team emerge as group winners, with Turkey having to enter a two-legged play-off next month.
Aston Villa centre-back Alpay, Blackburn Rovers playmaker Tugay and his former club-mate Hakan Sükür, have all been included in the party chosen by Günes, although Leicester City midfielder Muzzy Izzet has not. There have also been recalls for Besiktas duo Ilhan Mansiz and Emre Asik, as well as Bayer Leverkusen schemer Yildiray Bastürk.
In attack, the coach will have to choose between veteran Sükür, Real Sociedad's Nihat Kahveci, who has just returned from injury and Ilhan, who was sent off for Besiktas at the Bridge two days ago, but scored his countries 'golden goal' winner in last year's World Cup quarter-final against Senegal.
Günes started with the latter two in Turkey's 2-0 defeat at the Stadium of Light last April, but more recently has opted for Nihat alongside the vastly experienced former national team captain Sükür.
As well the Galatasaray forward, the squad also contains a whole host of other players with a wealth of big-match experience, whether it be in the European Cup, the World Cup or European Championships.
Captain of Galatasaray and Turkey Bülent Korkmaz, his club-mates Hasan Sas and Ümit Davala, Yildiray, who has recovered from Hepatitis B and Internazionale pair Emre Belözoglu and Okan Buruk, are all likely to feature at some point in the Sükrü Saraçoglu stadium next Saturday.
And new Barcelona goalkeeper Rüstü Reçber, despite having not yet started a game for the Catalans this season and appearing to injure his leg in Turkey's last international, a friendly in Dublin against the Republic of Ireland, is also selected by Günes.
The squad are due to meet on Monday, after this weekend's European fixtures, for their first training session.
Turkey Squad v. England
Sergen, Ibrahim, Ilhan, Emre Asik, Fatih Akyel, Tuncay, Bülent, Ergün, Hasan Sas, Hakan Sükür, Gökdeniz, Zafer, Ömer, Deniz Baris, Tugay, Rüstü, Yildiray, Alpay, Emre, Okan, Ümit Davala, Nihat Kahveci, Tayfun.
by Richard Morgan