Skibbe – ‘I convinced Mesut Ozil to play for Germany’ [divider]
“I was in charge of the German national team youth setup back then, Mesut Özil had just moved from Rot-Weiss Essen to Schalke,” Skibbe said.
“I was told that Schalke had signed a hot prospect, after talking with Mesut and his father I managed to convince them to play for Germany.”
Özil was born into a Turkish family in Germany and was eligible to represent both his country of birth and the Crescent-Stars at international level.
The 26-year-old went onto become the first player of Turkish origin to win the World Cup with Germany in the 2014 World Cup.
Özil became Arsenal’s most expensive signing when he joined the Gunners for £42.5 million last season.
Germany has an estimated 3-4 million Turkish population living predominantly in the industrialised regions in the west of the country.
The likes of Özil, Nuri Şahin, Hakan Çalhanoğlu and Kaan Ayhan were all born in Germany to Turkish parents.
There are 19 players of Turkish origin playing in the Bundesliga this season and 64 out of the 291 Turkish players in the Süper Lig were actually born in Germany.