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Turkey's İşikırık reaching for the stars

Turkey may have lacked spark in their goalless Group A opener against Portugal, but forward Filiz İşikırık caught the eye and is enjoying the chance to "showcase my talent".

Filiz İşikırık after her interview with UEFA.com
Filiz İşikırık after her interview with UEFA.com ©Sportsfile

Every finals tournament unearths a number of new stars and the UEFA European Women's Under-19 Championship is no different. Immersed in humble beginnings, Turkey forward Filiz İşikırık is quietly unassuming but came to life when she spoke to UEFA.com about her long-term ambitions and passion for the game.

UEFA.com: What does it mean to you to represent Turkey in their maiden tournament?

Filiz İşikırık: It makes me extremely happy. I see the tournament as a great opportunity to showcase my talent and test my skills against top opposition. Unfortunately, neither the awareness nor the media interest is high when it comes to women's football in Turkey. Hosting such a tournament in a big city like Antalya is very valuable in that respect. There are many teams who have already proven themselves on the European stage and we want to be ranked amongst them.

UEFA.com: Were you happy with your performance against Portugal?

İşikırık: I got a little carried away against Portugal because it was my first match for the Under-19 team. I could have performed better and I hope to improve my finishing against Denmark. Our team collectively did very well.

UEFA.com: Looking ahead to your next game, what are your expectations?

İşikırık: I expect the Denmark match to be very tough and played at a very high tempo. I believe we'll score our first goal in the tournament even if I am not the goalscorer. I expect Denmark to play attackingly. Mental preparation will be key and the game will have a special place above all the matches in the tournament for us.

UEFA.com: What are your ambitions in this tournament and for the future?

İşikırık: Sometimes I speak about my ambitions with our team mentor. I want to finish as top goalscorer. I want to prove myself and make my name heard all over Europe. Why shouldn't I be a new Marta? I want to play in the Women's Champions League as well. Also, I want to focus on my university education. Then I want to be a coach.

UEFA.com: What do you enjoy most about playing football?

İşikırık: I have played football ever since I was seven. In fact I didn't like it when I first started but my uncle encouraged me. It was really hard in the beginning because my parents objected to me playing. I resisted their demands a lot and succeeded in the end. When I look at football I not only see myself but my team-mates and the crescent star of the Turkish flag. Of course I am always delighted when I score.