20 Midfielder Fenerbahçe Turkey
Ozan Tufan is a thoroughly modern footballer; capable and competent in a number of positions. He got his first real taste of first-team football at right back but has excelled in the centre of midfield since making the switch. A good passer of the ball, constantly running up and down the pitch with his team and developing a knack for smart runs from deep; there is plenty to excite those watching Turkish football.
Possessing a slight frame, Tufan is at his best when he can simply follow the ball; an energetic box-to-box midfielder, neat and tidy on the ball who likes to play with his head up. He can do a disciplined job, sitting in to anchor the midfield but a prolonged spell there would expose his defensive weaknesses. If he was forced to make a permanent switch to shield the back four, we’d feel confident he has the work ethic to make it stick but it would conflict all of his natural instincts.
2015 has been…
Just over one year ago Tufan announced himself on the international scene with a wonderful goal. He took a touch 25 yards from goal and with the confidence of a seasoned professional he smacked the ball past Denmark’s goalkeeper.
Tufan bypassed the under-21 side and the goal – along with a string of accomplished performances – has helped to confirm the decision to hotshot him into the senior team as a good one. He is part of an exciting generation in the Turkish side. Hakan Çalhanoğlu is leading the way in Germany and with Arda Turan as the national team captain, another final four finish at a major competition may not be beyond the realms of possibility.
At club level, things have stalled somewhat after being part of a very fun Bursaspor team last season. They were the top scorers in the Super Lig last season even though they finished sixth in the league, and Tufan was a fun part of their attacking play.
Since joining Fenerbahçe in the summer, he hasn’t played as frequently as he needs to do but as part of a big squad with bigger expectations he’ll need to get used to it.
Turkey’s group is certainly manageable and Tufan will be desperate to be part of the squad. With 20 caps to his name, regular football will ensure he is able to stay in Fatih Terim’s team. His potential will only keep him in the squad for so long if he doesn’t find himself a settled spot in the Fener midfield; and the chance will be gone to enjoy a major tournament for the first time.
There are others in the Fenerbahçesquad who have been out-performing him and with title expectations weighing heavy on the club, his development falls way down the priority list. The club are locked in a title race and that means decisions around playing time are secondary to success. He needs to become part of the team on merit.
C+ Starting to play amongst the big boys
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