Turkish national team coach Fatih Terim has revealed that he tried to get Arsenal star Mesut Ozil to represent Turkey countless times.
In fact Terim stated that from the age of 15 to 21 Turkey attempted to get Ozil to play for them.
Ozil eventually picked Germany at senior international level and is currently one of two international players of Turkish origin in the team – the other being Emre Can.
“One of our youth coaches actually found Ozil at 15,” Terim told Andy Brassel in a recent interview with Bleacher Report, “and until he was 21, they tried, and I tried, to persuade him to come play for our country. But he made his choice, and we respected that.”
Ozil went onto win the World Cup with Germany but remains close to the country of his parents regularly visiting Turkey and enjoying a high-profile celebrity status in the country.
Turkey currently have eight players in the Euro 2016 23-man squad who were born outside the country with six born in Germany.
Several key players in the Turkish side were born in Germany including Bayer Leverkusen star Hakan Calhanoglu, Mainz 05’s Yunus Malli and Dortmund midfielder Nuri Sahin.