The Arsenal youngster Oguzhan Ozyakup has been included in the Gunners first team squad a few times this year, including a place in the squad that went to Greece to face Olympiakos in the Champions League, and has up ’til now been a regular member of the Holland U17 and U19 sides. In fact he captained the Dutch side that got to the U17 European Championship Final in 2009.
But now he has turned 19, the talented midfielder has had to make a decision on which U21 side to join and his heart has told him to play for Turkey, the land of his parents, rather than the country of his birth.
He admitted that it was far from certain which country he would choose. “I decided now because for a long time it has been in my head that I have two nationalities,” Ozyakup said.
“My parents are Turkish but moved to Holland a long time ago. It was a hard decision because I have played for Holland since I was 15.
“I spoke to loads of players, my parents, my family. They just said that it was my decision. A national team is not like a club, it is a country and you have to choose who you feel the most for.
“My Mum and Dad always said to me that it didn’t matter who I played for, but I know deep in their hearts they wanted me to play for Turkey. But it was my decision overall.
“You have to follow your heart. If I kept waiting it was going to be harder and harder to decide. I feel that I am Turkish.”
“……First I will hopefully play for the Under-21s and we will see how that goes. If I can play first-team football somewhere, you never know what is going to happen.”
He has indicated that he would like to go on loan from Arsenal to try and gain some regular first-team action, and has been galvanized by his trip to Olympiakos.
“It was absolutely fantastic in Greece: the atmosphere was perfect, the fans were crazy,” Ozyakup said.
“If you smell it, you want more and more and more. Once you have been there you want it every time.
“I am really happy with the way things are progressing at Arsenal. I have been involved with the first team a few times, training with them too, and things are good.
“Hopefully I might go out on loan if there is a good club that plays a similar style to Arsenal, but if not then I will continue with the Reserves and just try to play good games and do my best.”
The youngster certainly looks like one of the Arsenal youth side that is certain to go on to bigger and better things, and he is another that could become a regular first-teamer next season.