German-born forward Cenk Tosun has created a stir since his arrival in Turkey, with the 19-year-old from Gaziantepspor set to be fast-tracked into Guus Hiddink's national team.
Indeed, despite having represented Germany at all levels up to Under-21, Cenk took little persuasion in agreeing to play for Turkey. "I had a meeting with Guus Hiddink and his assistant Oğuz Çetin in Istanbul," he said. "They made me the offer and I was really excited about it. I was absolutely shaking when they first suggested it because playing for my country was something I have dreamed of since childhood."
Cenk himself may be a dream come true for Turkey. Without a goal in their last four outings, Hiddink's side are in dire need of a reliable scorer as they prepare for a UEFA EURO 2012 qualifier at home to Austria on 29 March. Since Hakan Şükür's retirement in 2007, Turkey have longed for an out-and-out striker and – with six goals in five games since his winter move from Germany to Turkey – Cenk may fit the bill.
His ascent from Eintracht Frankfurt's reserves to the verge of the Turkey team has been dizzyingly quick. Born in Wetzlar to Turkish parents, he joined the Eintracht youth system and made his senior debut against VfL Wolfsburg in the 2009/10 campaign, but had to settle for second-string football thereafter.
Cenk finally signed for Gaziantepspor in January on a three-and-a-half-year contract, having rejected a transfer to Galatasaray AŞ because he feared he would not get a starting place. He showed the Istanbul outfit what they were missing in his first match, scoring twice as Gaziantepspor beat Galatasaray 3-2 in the Turkish Cup.
Powerful, skilful and able to play with both feet, Cenk has been a nightmare for Süper Lig defences. Fifth-placed Gaziantepspor have won all four league fixtures with him in the side, and he has netted twice in each of the last two – a 4-1 triumph at champions Bursaspor and last Saturday's 2-1 victory over Eskişehirspor.
"I wasn't expecting it to go this well," admitted Cenk, who is likely to join two other German-born players in the Turkey set-up: 1. FC Nürnberg's Mehmet Ekici and Hamburger SV's Tunay Torun. "My team-mates have helped me adapt quickly to the team and the coach, Tolunay Kafkas, has had no hesitation in using me from the start."
If public opinion is anything to go by, Hiddink will need no excuse either to give Cenk his chance against Austria later this month.
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