There was a time, during the mid 1980’s when this fixture was considered a warm up target practice for England strikers. During three particularly prolific games, England scored 21 goals without a Turkish response.
However, since massive Turkish Government investment in their football infrastructure, Turkey have moved from the ‘whipping boys’ category to a team that has on occasion broken into the top ten of the FIFA world rankings, and currently sits only three places behind England at number 13.
They have also reached the semi-finals of the World Cup in 2002 and Euro 2008, with their top players gracing some of the finest leagues in Europe.
However, they have never beaten England in a competitive game in the ten times they have met.
Roy Hodgson still has some decisions to make ahead of Euro 2016 and that is why he named a 26 man provisional squad which he needs to reduce to 23 ahead of the summer tournament in Paris. Players like Arsenal’s Jack Wilshire and Liverpool’s Jordan Henderson will be keen to demonstrate that they are fit after spending much of the season sidelined through injury, and youngsters like Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford will need to show that he can make the step up from Premiership potential to international.
However, Rashford and his United team-makes, Chris Smalling and Wayne Rooney, will not be considered due to their participation in their FA Cup final win.
England come into the game in very inconsistent friendly form, losing to Spain, beating France and Germany and then losing to the Netherlands. On the other hand, Turkey are unbeaten in their last 13 games and have not conceded more than once in a game since November 2014.