Turkey's coach Fatih Terim unveiled a surprise squad Friday for the upcoming 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers UEFA Group I match against Croatia on September 5, dropping six star footballers, including Barcelona player Arda Turan.
The six top players, Arda Turan (FC Barcelona), Burak Yılmaz (Beijing Guoan), Selçuk İnan Galatasaray), Caner Erkin (Fenerbahçe), Hakan Balta (Galatasaray) and Gökhan Gönül (Beşiktaş), were nowhere to be found on Terim's new selection while three new names, Ahmet Oğuz, İrfan Can Kahveci and Cengiz Ünder, were included for the first time.
Ever since his re-appointment, the prominent coach has stressed the importance of bringing through young players into the national team and it appears the latest squad is a reflection of that thinking. A total of 10 players from the under-21 team have been called up to the main squad. The changes come ahead of the squad's first game since Turkey's disappointing Euro 2016 campaign. Turkey will play friendly games against Russia and Croatia next week.
Terim is once again expected to deploy a 4-2-3-1 formation with Dortmund's wonder-kid winger Emre Mor on the right wing.
As the new squad surprised many football fans, sports commentators already urged Terim to make a statement about his decision, saying such decision puts players at risk if he does not clear the air on his strategy.
Here's the surprise squad for the Croatia match:
Goalkeepers: Harun Tekin (Bursaspor), Onur Recep Kıvrak (Trabzonspor), Volkan Babacan (Medipol Başakşehir)
Defenders: Ahmet Oğuz, Ahmet Yılmaz Çalık (Gençlerbirliği), Şener Özbayraklı, Hasan Ali Kaldırım, İsmail Köybaşı (Fenerbahçe), Çağlar Söyüncü (Freiburg), Kaan Ayhan (Schalke 04), Serdar Aziz (Galatasaray)
Midfielders: Hakan Çalhanoğlu (Bayer Leverkusen), Emre Mor, Nuri Şahin (Borussia Dartmund), İrfan Can Kahveci (Gençlerbirliği), Mehmet Topal, Salih Uçan, Ozan Tufan, Volkan Şen (Fenerbahçe), Oğuzhan Özyakup, Olcay Şahan (Beşiktaş), Okay Yokuşlu (Trabzonspor), Gökhan Töre (West Ham United), Cengiz Ünder (Medipol Başakşehir)
Forwards: Cenk Tosun (Beşiktaş), Enes Ünal (Twente), Yunus Mallı (Mainz 05).