The roster for the Turkish national team was announced earlier this week for the Euro 2012 qualifying matches against Kazakhstan and Belgium. The team is already training for the matches as of the writing of this piece. The roster is as follows:
Goalkeepers: Cenk Gönen, Onur Kıvrak, Sinan Bolat
Defenders: Gökhan Gönül, Sabri Sarıoğlu, Ömer Erdoğan, Servet Çetin, İbrahim Toraman, Gökhan Zan, Hakan Balta, İsmail Köybaşı
Midfielders: Hamit Altıntop, Kazım Kazım, Mehmet Aurelio, Selçuk İnan, Selçuk Şahin, Emre Belözoğlu, Nuri Şahin, Arda Turan, Özer Hurmacı
Forwards: Tuncay Şanlı, Semih Şentürk, Sercan Yıldırım, Nihat Kahveci, Halil Altıntop
Looking at the roster it seems that there are several call-ups that are puzzling. For example, Gökhan Zan has not played a match for Galatasaray this season. While Turkey is not particularly deep in the center back position, Zan is known for being injury prone and not in form at all. Another puzzling call up is Kazim Kazim, who has had displinary problems with Fenerbahçe and has not featured this season either.
One interesting call up here is Ömer Erdoğan of Bursaspor. Although his age is an issue as he is 34 years old, his play for Bursaspor has attracted attention from Turkish fans. His defensive prowess was one of the factors behind Bursaspor winning the Turkish Super League championship last season.
Some glaring omissions are obvious. It is a mystery why Bursaspor's Volkan Şen did not get called up. His play in the league has been stellar and he should have gotten a look. He has only made one appearance for the national team so far, and that was in a friendly. Also not called up is Trabzonspor's Egemen Korkmaz, who could be used as the other central defender next to Servet Çetin. He has been a very capable defender for Trabzonspor this season and with Turkey not having depth at the central defender postion, Korkmaz could be a more than dependable player for that position.
Regardless of the roster call-ups, it will be interesting to see what kind of football the national team of Turkey will play under Guus Hiddink in a match that actually matters. Hiddink has been known not to change things too much starting out. So the roster seems more like a default roster at this point. But the players will have to play for their jobs, because Hiddink will not be afraid to drop anyone who isn't up to snuff.