Turkey Euro 2020 squad profile: Best player, manager and past Euros record

Turkey Euro 2020 squad
(Image credit: Getty)

The Turkey Euro 2020 squad for this summer has been revealed, and includes Leicester's Cengiz Ünder and West Brom's Okay Yokuslu.

Picking up seven points in three games in March's World Cup qualifiers, Turkey most notably beat the Netherlands 4-2, and head into 2021's Euros in good form, where they will face Italy, Wales and Switzerland.

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Turkey Euro 2020 squad

The pandemic came at a good time for Turkey. This time last year, they were heading into Euro 2020 with Merih Demiral, Ozan Kabak, Yusuf Yazici and Cenk Tosun all out injured, handing coach Senol Gunes a grim scenario after his side’s terrific qualifying campaign. 

This year is different. Tosun is ruled out again but the others have all been playing; in Kabak’s case, for Liverpool, following his January loan switch from Schalke. 

With a full-strength team again, Gunes will want to get Turkey back to business – and fast. They had a troubling dip in the form of a woeful 2020-21 Nations League campaign, finishing bottom of their pool in Group B with a single win from their six matches. In between, they drew 3-3 with both Germany and Croatia, highlighting their capacity for both the sublime and ridiculous. Recent World Cup qualifiers did nothing to alter that: a 4-2 demolition of the Dutch and a 3-0 win in Norway were followed by a 3-3 home draw with Latvia. 

Turkey cruised to Euro 2020 qualification thanks to a solid defence that let in three goals in 10 games. In the 11 matches that followed, they conceded 19. Clearly, Gunes was experimenting and didn’t take the Nations League seriously... or at least, that’s what Turks hope, having seen their team lose twice to Hungary en route to relegation. Their next Nations League will bring the likes of Lithuania and Gibraltar. 

It’s Jekyll and Hyde stuff. But, in Kabak, Juventus’ Demiral and Leicester’s Caglar Soyuncu, Turkey do have defensive quality.

Curiously, it’s in France – specifically Lille – that Gunes has been casting delighted glances. Zeki Celik has been in splendid form for the Ligue 1 title challengers; so, too, 24-year-old playmaker Yazici and veteran striker Burak Yilmaz, who also hit a brilliant hat-trick in that thumping win over the Netherlands. In Italy, meanwhile, Hakan Calhanoglu has resembled a player reborn at Milan. Turkey’s Super Lig has been in COVID-19 turmoil, seeing many of the league’s giants plagued with crippling debt, but it is hard to remember a time when so many Turkish internationals played in Europe’s best leagues. 

For the national side, then, there’s every reason for optimism right now. In a tough group, Turkey’s expectations may still be tempered – if that’s possible in this most fanatical of football nations – but they have what it takes to cause an upset. 

Turkey Euro 2020 squad: Who is Turkey's manager?

Senol Gunes, Turkey Euro 2020 squad

(Image credit: PA)

Turkish native Senol Gunes has managed Turkey since 2019, re-joining the national team after his stint in charge in between 2000 and 2004. 68-years-old, Gunes took Turkey to third place in the 2002 World Cup, and has managed Besiktas and Trabzonspor on three separate occasions, among other Turkish league roles. 

The former goalkeeper became a manager in 1989 with Boluspor, maintaining a high reputation in Turkey throughout his career in the dugout. Apart from a two year spell in charge of FC Seoul, Gunes has managed in Turkey since his first managerial job in 1989.

Turkey Euro 2020 squad: Who is Turkey's best player?

Hakan Calhanoglu, Turkey Euro 2020 squad

(Image credit: PA)

27-year-old Hakan Calhanoglu is Turkey's best player, who prefers playing in an advanced midfield role. After making his debut in 2013, the AC Milan playmaker has played 55 times for Turkey, scoring 13 goals. 

Making Turkey tick with his decision making and incisive passes, Calhanoglu also has a hammer of a right foot - displayed during his time with the national team, at Bayer Leverkusen, and now in Milan. 

Joining Calhanoglu among Turkey's best players is striker and captain Burak Yilmaz, who has scored 28 goals for his country. Leicester City defender Caglar Soyuncu completes a strong spine for Turkey. 

Turkey Euro 2020 squad: Turkey's past Euros record

Turkey Euro 2020 squad

(Image credit: PA)

Between the competition's inception in 1960 and 1992, Turkey were unable to qualify for the Euros. However, since their first tournament in 1996, Turkey have endured a mixed bag of fortunes.

Their inaugural appearance in the tournament was largely unsuccessful, losing all three of their games. However, in 2000 the nation managed to advance to the knockout stages from a group containing Italy, Belgium and Sweden, before losing to Portugal in the quarter-finals.

Turkey weren't able to qualify for 2004, but their third placed finish at 2008 Euros equalled the nation's best ever international tournament finish. 

Again, they were unable to qualify for the 2012 Euros, before crashing out in the group stages of the 2016 Euros in France. 

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