Turkey’s Euro 2020 squad was announced on the deadline day as Senol Gunes’ men managed to qualify for back-to-back tournaments for only the second time in the country’s history.
The Crescent-Stars did a fine job in the qualifying series, finishing runners-up to France in Group H, four points clear of third-placed Iceland with a single loss from ten games.
Everton loanee Cenk Tosun, who finished the qualifying campaign as Turkey’s top scorer with five goals, has not made the final squad due to injury.
However, Gunes can rely on in-form Lille striker Burak Yilmaz to should the scoring burden following the experienced striker’s impressive Ligue 1 season.
Yilmaz’s most notable companions in the final third are Leicester City’s Cengiz Under and Getafe marksman Enes Unal.
Even though Under experienced an underwhelming Premier League campaign, he remains one of Turkey’s key attacking components for the upcoming tournament.
Four of Gunes’ eight selected midfielders spent 2020/21 in the Turkish Super Lig. West Brom’s Okay Yokuslu and Feyenoord’s Orkun Kokcu are two of four Turkey’s midfielders from abroad.
But Gunes will build his team’s play around two European powerhouses. Lille’s Yusuf Yazici has been in stellar form for the newly-crowned Ligue 1 champions and will be one of Turkey’s creative fulcrums this summer.
The country’s biggest star Hakan Calhanoglu deserves special attention.
After helping AC Milan end a painful eight-year wait for the Champions League this season, the 27-year-old free-kick specialist will be looking to translate his eye-catching club form to international football.
Calhanoglu’s playing style bears much resemblance to another German-born playmaker of Turkish ancestry, Mesut Ozil. While the latter opted for Die Mannschaft, the ex-Bayer Leverkusen midfielder is keen on emulating the former Arsenal man’s impact on his nation.
Leicester’s defensive mainstay, Caglar Soyuncu, will command Turkey’s star-studded backline. Playing alongside the ex-Manchester United transfer target will be Juventus’ Merih Demiral, Lille’s Zeki Celik and Liverpool’s Ozan Kabak.
The group is not the best draw for Turkey, though, as they take on Italy, Switzerland and Wales in a pretty competitive Group A.
However, the Crescent-Stars could be the surprise package of the tournament. They have lost just two of their 13 matches since the turn of 2020, beating the Netherlands 4-2 in the World Cup Qualifying back in March.
Turkey Euro 2020 Squad
Goalkeepers: Altay Bayındır (Fenerbahce), Mert Gunok (Istanbul Basaksehir), Ugurcan Cakir (Trabzonspor).
Defenders: Zeki Celik (LOSC Lille), Caglar Soyuncu (Leicester), Kaan Ayhan (Sassuolo), Merih Demiral (Juventus), Mert Muldur (Sassuolo), Ozan Kabak (Liverpool), Ridvan Yilmaz (Besiktas), Umut Meras (Le Havre).
Midfielders: Yusuf Yazıcı (LOSC Lille), Dorukhan Tokoz (Besiktas), Irfan Can Kahveci (Fenerbahce), Okay Yokuslu (West Brom), Orkun Kokcu (Feyenoord), Ozan Tufan (Fenerbahce), Taylan Antalyali (Galatasaray), Hakan Calhanoglu (AC Milan).
Forwards: Burak Yilmaz (LOSC Lille), Cengiz Under (Leicester), Enes Unal (Getafe), Abdulkadir Omur (Trabzonspor), Kerem Akturkoglu (Galatasaray), Halil Ibrahim Dervisoglu (Brentford), Kenan Karaman (Fortuna Dusseldorf).