Sahin: Youth tournaments are priceless

FIFA :    There can be few Turkish players with better first-hand knowledge of the advantages of playing internationally at youth level than Nuri Sahin.

The 24-year-old midfielder has already made 32 senior appearances for his country, having shone as a youngster in different European and global tournaments. To many he is a model footballer, who has come through the ranks and since become an idol to younger generations.

2005 was an unforgettable year for the affable playmaker. First he led Turkey to UEFA European U-17 Championship glory in Italy, where he was also voted player of the tournament. He followed that up by playing a leading role in his country’s top-four finish at the FIFA U-17 World Cup in Peru. There he was awarded both the adidas Silver Boot for finishing as second highest scorer and the adidas Bronze Ball as third-best player. All of a sudden, Nuri Sahin was a household world.

Sahin, born and raised in Germany, subsequently experienced a swift upturn in his career trajectory. He became the youngest ever player to appear in the Bundesliga after making his debut with Borussia Dortmund later that year. A first senior cap for Turkey soon followed, against Germany of all teams. Shortly after coming on as a substitute he put Turkey 2-0 up and today he remains both the national team’s youngest ever player and scorer.