The official website for European football

UEFA.com's weekly wonderkid: Cengiz Ünder

Published: Saturday 18 February 2017, 12.45CET
Deemed by Emre Belözoğlu to be "one of the leading talents in Turkish football", winger Cengiz Ünder became a full international earlier this season at the age of 19.
by Türker Tozar
from Istanbul
UEFA.com's weekly wonderkid: Cengiz Ünder
Cengiz Ünder is ever present for İstanbul Başakşehir in the league this season ©İstanbul Başakşehir FK

UEFA.com features

Roberto Rosetti on the introduction of Video Assistant Referees
  • Roberto Rosetti on the introduction of Video Assistant Referees
  • Strengthening European football's unity
  • New UEFA strategy – Together for the Future of Football
  • European Cup pioneer Jacques Ferran passes away
  • UEFA and ECA sign Memorandum of Understanding
  • UEFA briefs UEFA Champions League clubs on VAR
  • Referees primed for spring duty
  • Pierre Delaunay – a unique witness
  • Three new recruits for together #WePlayStrong
  • Randers FC helps youngsters of all abilities
1 of 10
Published: Saturday 18 February 2017, 12.45CET

UEFA.com's weekly wonderkid: Cengiz Ünder

Deemed by Emre Belözoğlu to be "one of the leading talents in Turkish football", winger Cengiz Ünder became a full international earlier this season at the age of 19.

Aged 19, Cengiz Ünder is already both a regular for his club and a senior international. Meet the left-winger making a splash in the Turkish Super League.

Name: Cengiz Ünder
Club
: İstanbul Başakşehir
Debut
: 24 September 2014 for Altınordu v Menemen
Position: winger
Nationality: Turkish
Born: 14 July 1997
Preferred foot: left
Height: 174cm

They say ...
"Cengiz is a player with important qualities. He has improved quicker than I expected. He is only just starting out, but I believe he will achieve big things."
Abdullah Avcı, İstanbul Başakşehir coach

"I see Cengiz being one step ahead of other players due to his playing style and outlook on life. Praise should go to his former club Altınordu for this. He is one of the leading talents in Turkish football. He needs to make himself stronger physically and then set a target of moving to a bigger Turkish or European club."
Emre Belözoğlu, İstanbul Başakşehir captain

©İstanbul Başakşehir FK

Background
Born in Sindirgi, Cengiz took his first footballing steps at Izmir club Bucaspor between 2007 and 2013. He then switched to Altınordu, where his former youth academy coordinator, Seyit Mehmet Özkan, took over as president.

The pacy winger promptly became a regular for Altınordu after turning professional in 2014, scoring 11 goals in 51 league appearances over two seasons. İstanbul Başakşehir beat off stiff competition for his services last summer.

Cengiz, who has begun every league game this term, made his senior international debut in November, coming off the bench in Turkey's 2-0 victory over Kosovo in the European Qualifiers for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. That was a mere two months after he had broken into the Crescent Stars' Under-21 side.

Playing style
Swift and direct in his approach, Cengiz can play on either flank since he is adept with his weaker right foot. The teenager displays a maturity and calmness beyond his years.

©İstanbul Başakşehir FK

Shades of ...
... Fenerbahçe's Volkan Şen, certainly in terms of his forward runs and dribbling ability. However, Cengiz, not averse to shooting from distance, is perhaps a better finisher.

Eureka moment
Cengiz volleyed title-chasing Başakşehir in front away to Beşiktaş in November, finishing off a fast break. Coming in such an intimidating stadium, it was a huge confidence boost for the youngster.

Best-case scenario ...
Having consigned hitherto first-choice winger Doka to the substitutes' bench this season, Cengiz will hope to cement his place for the rest of the campaign and also gain more international experience, starting with the next round of European Qualifiers in March.

Başakşehir are likely to be in Europe again next term, possibly the UEFA Champions League group stage, meaning a wider showcase for his talents.

He says ...
"There are lots of experienced players in our squad, but I didn't struggle to adapt. I think it's to do with my character: I am generally comfortable and don't get overexcited."

"I worked hard to get the chance to play for Başakşehir and the national team. I want to work even harder now to wear the national jersey for a long time."

Last updated: 18/02/17 12.48CET

Related information

Player profiles
Member associations
Team profiles

https://www.uefa.com/memberassociations/news/newsid=2441059.html#uefa+coms+weekly+wonderkid+cengiz+under