21 July 2010-SBS: Daniel Phan
Besiktas secured the loan services of Australian-born stopper Ersan Gulum, with the option of signing the player permanently from second division side Adanaspor at the end of the 2010-2011 season.
Speaking to The World Game moments before his introduction to the club’s staff and playing group, Gulum said he was confident Besiktas would retain him beyond the 12-month loan period.
“Besiktas don’t have a left-sided stopper. They are rare in Turkey. I’m very fortunate because there’s very few playing in the left-sided position with a left-foot,” Gulum, who will wear the No.2 jersey for his new team, said.
“I’ve got no doubt that I will get that chance to show myself, put that jersey on and prove to everyone that I am that player they expect.
“A door has opened up for me and I have to take this opportunity. These opportunities don’t come around often.
“I just turned 23, got signed by my childhood team but I can’t get head over heels about it. I’ve got to stay calm and cool and work my ass off.”
The step up to the Turkish Superlig has meant the former Hume City star will get the chance to face-off against some of his idols.
“I grew up watching players like Harry (Kewell) and Lucas (Neill) and now playing in the same league and same level as them is a big deal for me.
Gulum, who has dual nationality, admits he is working towards a call-up to the Turkey national team, who will be under former Socceroos boss Guus Hiddink’s reign, come 1 August.
“I have arrived at a big club like Besiktas and I have high opportunities to play for the Turkish national team,” Gulum said.
“I’ve already met with a few of its players, and people in the Turkish Football Federation are telling me ‘you keep doing what you’re doing and you’ll be playing in the Turkish national team in a few months’ time.
“That’s a big step because it means I’ll also get to play (in the) Euros.
“I know there are big names that play in the Turkish national team in my position but that was only an issue when I was playing at Adanaspor in the second division.
“Now I’m at Besiktas.”
Though, he has not ruled out the possibility of turning out for his country of birth.
Gulum has not appeared in Australian colours since an Olyroos camp in 2007, and is upset about Football Federation Australia’s indifferent attitude towards his achievements of the last 24 months.
“No one (from FFA) has bothered to contact me since I left the Olyroos. That’s the honest truth. I’m disappointed,” Gulum said.
“I’m not ruling out the Australian national team at all. It’s just who calls me up first, to be honest.”
“If Australia called me to the national team, just for a cap or something, then I’d be more than willing.”
Gulum will stay in Istanbul to begin training with his new club Wednesday, while his team-mates fly out to Faroe Islands to face Vikingur Gota in the Europa League’s qualifying stages.