FIFA U-20 World Cup 2013: Player Preview – İbrahim Yılmaz

İbrahim Yılmaz is a centre forward for İstanbul Büyükşehir Belediye Spor Kulübü. Ibrahim stands at 6ft but is a very athletic player who possesses pace and agility. İbrahim has a fantastic eye for goal which has earned him the call up for the Turkey U20 side.

Yılmaz was born in Istanbul, Turkey home to İBB – the club he has been at since first joining at the age of 11. İbrahim spent five years in the youth teams scoring countless goals. İbrahim was moved into the first team in 2010 by current Turkey national team Abdullah Avcı.

Avcı was Turkey U17 manager prior to his job at IBB so always had an eye for young and exciting prospects. Avcı had guided IBB into the Süper Lig in 2006 and had kept them in the topflight throughout his time in charge. Yılmaz was good enough to catch the eye of the manager whilst playing youth football at İBB and earned him his debut in April 2011 despite being only 17. Yılmaz went on to grab another 3 appearances that season though most weren’t full games.

The next season İbrahim found himself on the bench almost every game and couldn’t dislodge in-form striker Pierre Webo. However when Turkey failed to qualify for the Euro 2012 championships after losing to Croatia 3-0 on aggregate, Dutch manager Guus Hiddink resigned and Abdullah Avcı was appointed manager. Arif Erdem, who was Abdullah’s assistant, took over the reins and helped guide IBB to a very respectable 6th placed finish. Erdem’s contract was terminated and ex-Beşiktaş manager Carlos Carvalhal took over at the end of the season.

Carvalhal didn’t seem to have the same admiration for young players and Yılmaz was loaned out at the start of this season to Lig. 3 team Darıca Gençlerbirliği. İbrahim smashed in an incredible 12 goals in 16 games. However parent club IBB didn’t quite have the same luck and had a change in manager in early November. New boss Bulent Korkmaz couldn’t prevent a shambolic season and the team was relegated at the end of the league campaign.

İstanbul BB are an unusual side as they play their home games at the Atatürk Olympic Stadium, the largest stadium in Turkey, whilst having virtually no fans. Due to being owned by the Municipality of Istanbul the club play their home games at the 76,000 capacity stadium despite not actually owning it. IBB receive a lot of grief from other Turkish fans as they claim the Istanbul side ruin the great Turkish fan reputation. Despite all of this Istanbul have had a relatively successful few years and have one other U20 side player in the squad – Enver Cenk Şahin.

İbrahim has been ever present for Turkey youth sides from U16 level to the current U20 side. İbrahim scored three goals for the Turkey U19 side who have qualified for the U19 European Championship in Lichtenstein later this summer.

The U20WC is Ibrahim’s chance to show İBB boss Bulent Korkmaz that he can be their new striker for next season as they aim to bounce back to the Süper Lig. Istanbul lack options going forward after their star man Pierre Webo was snapped up by the Fenerbahçe in January this season and Yılmaz could be the perfect alternative.

Watch out for İbrahim’s great pace and agility as well as accurate finishing and deadly goal poaching ability. If İbrahim doesn’t make it in to the first 11 then he will definitely be used to target some tired legs and hopefully put some balls in the back of the net.

By Emir Afiya

You can follow Emir on Twitter: @TotalTurkTalk