Postponement of Euro 2020 ‘advantage for Turkey’
Turkish defender Merih Demiral believes that the delay of the 2020 European Championships due to the coronavirus pandemic is advantageous for the Turkish national team.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency at Turkey’s pre-tournament training camp in Antalya, Juventus defender Demiral said that it was a different and very tiring season for him in Italy.
Referring to Juventus’ performance during the 2020-2021 season, he stated that “we finished [the season] well. We won a cup [Coppa Italia] and qualified for the Champions League in the last game. We are very happy to join the national team; we were waiting for this moment.”
The 23-year-old player seeks to be well-prepared for the tournament during the training camp in Antalya.
Stating that the postponement of Euro 2020 is an advantage for the national team, Demiral recalled that Turkey had three or four injured players last year ahead of the event, which was supposed to take place from June 12 to July 12, 2020, before it was delayed.
“So, I can say that the postponement of the tournament last year was good for us,” he said. “I can say for myself that I am much better prepared.”
Demiral said that the players fight for each other on the field.
“There is a very good national team that reached great success. I hope we will be successful in the upcoming period.”
Turkey plays the opening game of the tournament against Italy on June 11.
“It will be the most special match for us,” Demiral said. “We were joking a lot with my teammates [from Juventus] Bonucci and Chiellini in the dressing room.”
The defender added that he showed his teammates the goals of Turkish forward Burak Yılmaz, who led Lille to the French league.
“I hope we will compete well and have a good result.”
Demiral also admitted that his experienced teammates in Juventus contributed a lot to his development.
“I cannot find the chance to make appearances in the recent days, but playing against Ronaldo and Dybala in training makes a great contribution to me. Chiellini and Bonucci take care of me one on one after the training sessions, which is a great experience for me,” he said.
“I’m trying to take advantage of it. I’m improving myself day by day.”
Another Turkish player, Okay Yokuşlu said that advancing from the group is “the main goal” for the national team.
He noted that the half-season he spent in England was very productive for him, even though his West Bromwich Albion was relegated from the Premier League.
“It was a good adventure for me,” Yokuşlu said.
“My team was relegated, but when I joined the club it was already in a difficult situation. We gained momentum with the new arrivals, we had hope, but unfortunately, we failed.
“Now, we will completely prepare for the European Championship that we have been waiting for a long time.”
When asked about his club for the next season, Yokuşlu said: “I do not know. It was a productive season for me, but I have no idea about my next club at the moment. I only think about it [EURO 2020] completely. My manager will be taking care of my transfer.”
The 27-year-old midfielder joined West Bromwich Albion from Celta Vigo on loan in the winter transfer window. But his team was relegated from the league after finishing the 20-team competition in 19th place with 26 points.