Selcuk Inan: Analysing Galatasaray's Chief Midfield Playmaker

Sam TigheWorld Football Tactics Lead WriterApril 4, 2013

MADRID, SPAIN - APRIL 03:  Selcuk Inan of Galatasaray in action during the UEFA Champions League Quarter Final first leg match between Real Madrid and Galatasaray at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on April 3, 2013 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images)
Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images

Galatasaray may have lost 3-0 at the Bernabeu on Wednesday, but plenty of positives can be taken from a hearty, attacking performance.

The casual watcher will focus on the household names that have recently brought the Turkish club into the news, such as the mercurial Wesley Sneijder, the brilliant Didier Drogba and the in-form Burak Yilmaz.

With that being said, it's arguable that Gala's most important player is Selcuk Inan—an unsung midfield maestro who, for my money, could play for any top team in Europe.

In Madrid, Selcuk was Gala's best player. This was no surprise to Gala fans, who adore him, but his performance went unnoticed again due to the focus on Sneijder's poor performance and Drogba's reunion with Jose Mourinho.

So what should you be looking for in Selcuk?

One of the reasons he's so good is his versatility. Yes, he operates largely from central midfield, but Fatih Terim has employed a number of different shapes that his team have had to adapt to quickly.

Selcuk can operate as a flat midfield playmaker, a deep-lying playmaker or a box-to-box-esque presence.

He might not be the quickest, but he works hard and possesses a wonderful positional sense—in Terim's latest phase, the 4-3-1-2 (or midfield diamond), the Turk plays a hybrid midfield role on the left.

He's responsible for fanning out and protecting his full-back at times, while also integral in creating space for Sneijder and keeping the passing triangles intact.

Despite the presence of the aforementioned Dutchman, Selcuk has the best passing range on Gala's team. He's also the most consistent when it comes to completing in the short game, too, which makes him an incredibly reliable and safe presence in midfield.

If he's playing the deep-lying role in a 4-2-3-1, he's the pass master that keeps everything ticking over.

Think Ilkay Gundogan with just a little less mobility.

Perhaps the sole question mark is why Terim persists with Felipe Melo in the deep role over Inan. Nordin Amrabat is not a natural central player but shows promise there, and his ability to break out wide can at times forego the lack of width a diamond creates.

Selcuk's tackling, timing and ability to close off space is superior to Melo's, too. Does Terim feel the former's reliability in the passing game is wasted so deep?

Regardless of this selection conundrum, the 28-year-old is revered in Istanbul and it's easy to see why. 


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