FIFA U-20 World Cup 2013: Player Preview – Fatih Nurullah Turan

Fatih Nurullah Turan currently plays for Fortuna Sittard in the Eerste Divisie – the second domestic league in the Netherlands. Fatih is expected to be the first choice right-back this summer and the 20-year-old has gained a lot of experience over the past season.

Fatih was actually born in Genk, Belgium to Turkish parents, which makes him eligible for Turkey. Fatih started out at Sporting Genk South Zuid, a club where young people aged between 5 and 18 learn, train and play matches. Sporting Genk South Zuid is aimed to get children from different cultures and minorities playing sport. The club helped Fatih integrate and develop his game. When he was 16 he was promoted to KRC Genk where he played for the youth teams, impressing several local and foreign clubs.

In 2010 Fortuna Sittard signed Fatih on a free transfer at the age of 17. Fortuna Sittard had just finished 17th in the Eerste Divisie and had been hovering around the bottom half of the table ever since their promotion in 2002. Fatih spent most of the 2010-2011 season playing U17 football, however he managed to breakthrough into the senior team and was handed his debut three games before the end of the season. He had a solid debut playing a full 90 minutes and helped towards keeping a clean sheet. Fatih then found himself on the bench for the final two games but did not feature in either of the matches.

Fatih hoped to increase his first team playing time and make a name for himself in the 2011-12 season. However, Fatih struggled for playing time after Tini Ruijs replaced Wim Dusseldorp as manager of the club. Fatih only made the bench three times during the league campaign and after just 7 months in charge and leading the side to a comfortable 11th place Ruijs resigned.

Despite his poor season, Fatih’s career was not over and another ex-Fortuna Sittard player Willy Boessen took over at the start of the 2012-13 league campaign. Fatih appeared reinvigorated and came back a changed player after his lack of games the former year. Turan made 25 league appearances this season and helped his side keep 11 clean sheets. Fortuna Sittard finished in a very respectable 7th place which earned them a play-off place.

The U20 World Cup is a great chance for Fatih to add more experience to his game. He will hope he can retain his role next season and possibly help his team push for promotion or at least turn a few heads trying to. Fatih has represented Turkey at U20-21 level and although he is eligible to play for Belgium he recently stated his intent to play for the Turkish national side.

The 20-year-old fullback can play anywhere along the back-four and despite being a little short for a defensive player – 5’9 – he has all the attributes to make it as a top player. His tackling is very accurate and he can mark players out of the game, Fatih appears to be another great piece to the Turkish side.

By Emir Afiya

You can follow Emir on Twitter: @TotalTurkTalk