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Northern Ireland set to face Turkey in summer friendly before Euro 2020 finals

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Northern Ireland will be hoping their game against the Turks will serve as preparation for Euro 2020.

Northern Ireland will be hoping their game against the Turks will serve as preparation for Euro 2020.

William Cherry/Presseye

Northern Ireland will be hoping their game against the Turks will serve as preparation for Euro 2020.

Northern Ireland will be feeling the heat this June when they travel to Turkey for their second summer friendly.

Sunday Life Sport exclusively revealed last week that Irish FA chiefs have agreed an international match to take place against Ukraine in Kiev on Tuesday, June 2.

Turkey, who have qualified for Euro 2020 after finishing second in Group H behind France, have now been added to Northern Ireland's schedule in the hope that it will be a precursor for their involvement in the Championship finals. The venue and date, which is likely to be around June 6, will be announced when the Irish FA officially confirm the two friendlies next week.

Turkey, managed by Senol Gunes, finished just two points behind France in their Euro qualifying group after winning seven games - including a 2-0 victory over the World Champions in Konya - and drawing twice.

The Turks have been drawn in the same group as Ryan Giggs' Wales at the Euros, along with Italy and Switzerland, and will therefore be using the proposed friendly against Northern Ireland to give them a 'British style' test.

They have arranged a match against Azerbaijan on May 26 and will then play Croatia on June 1, leaving a date free towards the end of the first week in June.

Northern Ireland, with their Euro 2020 play-off match against Bosnia and Herzegovina next month, will be hoping to join the Turks at the finals and use this game as warm-up for the tournament rather than a run-of-the-mill end of season friendly.

Turkey have a host of players performing for top clubs all over Europe and Jonny Evans will come up against fellow Leicester City defender and team-mate Caglar Soyuncu.

Northern Ireland last played Turkey in a friendly seven years ago when they lost 1-0 in Adana. Former New York Bulls midfielder Jonny Steele made his senior international debut, coming on as a second half sub.

Three years prior to that match, Nigel Worthington was forced to take an inexperienced Northern Ireland outfit to New Britain, Connecticut, in the United States, where they were defeated 2-0 by Turkey in a friendly.

Irish League players Alan Blayney, Robert Garrett, Jamie Mulgrew, Rory Patterson and Kevin Braniff all started that game, while defender Colin Coates came on as a second half substitute.


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