Osieck forced to cut reluctant Gulum

Tug-of-war ... Ersan Gulum has decided that his future lies with Turkey (Getty)

Melbourne-born defender Ersan Gulum was dumped by Australia coach Holger Osieck because the player’s Turkish father wants him to play for Turkey.

Osieck named a 23-man squad for the 2011 AFC Asian Cup in Qatar starting on January 8 (AEDT) but Gulum was surprisingly omitted after being selected in a provisional squad of 50.

The squad includes A-League stars Jason Culina, Matt McKay, Jade North and uncapped Robbie Kruse.

Gulum, who plays left-back and centre-half for Istanbul giant Besiktas, had told Osieck he was keen to earn his first international cap as a Socceroo.

But Osieck said in announcing the squad that he had to drop 23-year-old Gulum after his father Ihsan had put pressure on the player not to forfeit his chance of playing for Turkey.

"The Gulum situation is very unfortunate," Osieck explained via a teleconference from Zurich.

"I myself went to Ankara to watch him play against Genclerbirligi and I had a long chat with him the night before the match.

"He seemed to be committed to play for Australia even though he was called up by Turkey for a friendly against Holland (but did not play).

"I thought that was a done deal so I included him in the list of 50.

"Unfortunately things changed because his father played a role.

"He said Ersan should opt for Turkey because he plays in Turkey and makes his living there and they both feel a lot of pressure from the Turkish media and the Besiktas supporters," Osieck continued.

"The result is that he now wants to play for Turkey not Australia.

"It was a personal decision and you have to respect it but I’m disappointed because after watching him play I thought he would be a good, mobile player down the road for Australia.

"But in Turkey the father is a very important factor in decision-making and it was his final call."

Melbourne Victory striker Kruse’s first national team call-up was a clear message to all Australian players that rich rewards await those who excel at A-League level.

"I don’t care where they are playing, all I care about is how they are playing," Osieck said.

"I’ve seen Robbie a couple of times and so far he’s having a pretty good season.

"He’s scored a number of goals and he’s played a major role for Victory, so why not give him an opportunity to show what he can do for the Socceroos?"

Osieck said he was likely to give some of the English-based players limited game time in the January 6 (AEDT) international against United Arab Emirates in Al Ain because they will have played a club game just days earlier.

He said he was more than likely to give Kruse his international debut five days before Australia’s first Asian Cup match in the tournament in Qatar against India.

"I wasn't really expecting to get in the squad especially with most of the overseas-based players getting chosen but it's a massive honour and privilege," Kruse said later.

Australia’s other matches in Group C are against Korea Republic on January 15 and Bahrain on January 19.

Australia's 23-man squad for the 2011 AFC Asian Cup (club and caps in brackets):

Goalkeepers: Nathan Coe (Sønderjysk Elitesport – uncapped), Brad Jones (Liverpool – two), Mark Schwarzer (Fulham – 82);

Defenders: David Carney (Blackpool – 32), Jonathan McKain (Al Nassr – 14), Lucas Neill (Galatasaray – 63), Jade North (Wellington Phoenix – 31), Sasa Ognenovski (Seongnam Ilhwa – one), Matthew Spiranovic (Urawa Reds – five), Luke Wilkshire (Dinamo Moscow – 50);

Midfielders: Brett Emerton (Blackburn Rovers – 78), Jason Culina (Gold Coast United – 56), Richard Garcia (Hull City – 13), Brett Holman (AZ Alkmaar – 38), Mile Jedinak (Genclerbirligi –17), Harry Kewell (Galatasaray – 47), Neil Kilkenny (Leeds United – two), Matthew McKay (Brisbane Roar – six), Carl Valeri (Sassualo – 29);

Forwards: Nathan Burns (AEK Athens – four), Tim Cahill (Everton – 46), Robbie Kruse (Melbourne Victory 0 – uncapped), Scott McDonald (Middlesbrough – 20).

Source SBS