Rizespor defenders showing the way forward in Turkey

  • Sezer Özmen and Ali Adnan two of the most stylish defenders in Europe
  • The Turkish David Luiz and the Gareth Bale of the Euphrates

Defenders who maintain possession are becoming increasingly valuable.

Attack has long been the best form of defence.  Defence is increasingly becoming the best form of attack.

Full backs long ago assumed responsibility for wide attacking from the almost extinct winger.

While centre backs are having to take responsibility for creating attacks rather than just nullifying them

At Das Wunderkind we like a stylish defender and this season has seen a highly promising centre back emerge in Turkey.

The Turkish David Luiz

He might look like a bald David Luiz* but Sezer Ozmen of Caykur Rizespor has elegance in abundance.

Standing 189cm and weighing in at 81kg the 21-year-old packs a heavyweight punch but his composure on the ball is his best quality.

Where other centre backs release the ball as soon as possible Ozmen seems to relish the time he spends in its company.


If a good pass is not immediately available he will turn or dribble into space before selecting the option that best instigates an attack.  He is a forward thinking defender.

Of course a ball-playing centre back is nothing if they cannot stop the opposition from scoring and Ozmen performs his defensive duties with ably.  Strong in the tackle, good in the air and faster than average – there is not much he needs to improve on.

He has the technical and physical qualities to be a top player and just needs to work on his concentration, decision making when he has the ball, and positioning – all of which should improve with experience.

Ozmen joined Rizespor permanently after impressing on loan from Besiktas.  He has established himself as a key member of the Turkey Under 21 squad.

Although former Arsenal target Godfrey Oboabona, 22, kept him out of the starting line-up toward the end of last year Ozmen should develop well at Rizespor.

He has deputised at left back on occasion this season, he is left footed, but it as a centre back that his future lies.

Rizespor’s usual left sided defender is Iraqi starlet Ali Adnan.  A revelation at the recent FIFA U20 World Cup in Turkey he has acclimatised well to life in the Super Lig after signing from Baghdad FC.

Free kick fiend

Adnan, 20, has drawn flattering comparisons with Gareth Bale (The Bale of the Euphrates?).  Like the Welshman he is left footed, dynamic, has a dynamite shot and a two handed goal celebration.


Iraq have some excellent young players that suggest a bright future for their national side is not far away.  Although miles apart in terms of ability Adnan stands more chance of playing at a World Cup than Bale.

If rumours were to be believed Adnan and Bale could have been teammates in Spain.  Real Madrid, Arsenal, Valencia and Galatasaray were just some of the teams to have been linked with him after the U20 World Cup.

His signing represents something of a coup for Rizespor.  He has made a wise choice of club, knowing that he can develop freely, acclimatising at his own pace.  Any future transfers will be made from a position of strength.

Rizespor were promoted last season and although they have struggled for consistency have achieved some good results.  They drew 1-1 away at Galatasaray and have generally performed well against the top teams.

They have the makings of a good side – one that belies their current league position of 15th.  The problem has been a lack of goals, not conceding them.

If they are to stay up they will need their defence to help inspire their attack.  In Ozmen and Adnan they have the players to do just this – they are footballing evolution in action.

* Sezer Özmen also looks remarkably like a young Jonathan Northcroft of The Sunday Times.

Why do some young players make it while others do not? That and other questions are the main focus of this site. Football prodigies, next-big-things, never-quite-were's and yet-may-be's.

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