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Familiar face in Euro 2008

England supporters may have missed out on the opportunity to support their home country in this summer’s European Championships, but any Sheffield United fans following the tournament will no doubt find one of only two English players on display rather familiar.

Colin Kazim-Richards, otherwise known by his Turkish name Kâzım-Kâzım, was born in Leytonstone, London and spent almost a year at Bramall Lane after Neil Warnock took him from Brighton and Hove Albion’s reserves to the Premier League for £250,000. Now, Kazim-Richards will star for his adopted country in the last four of Euro 2008 after their dramatic penalty shoot-out victory over Croatia this evening. The other Englishman in the tournament is Italy’s Simone Perotta, born in Ashton-under-Lyne.

“All the lads in the dressing room were singing songs in Turkish, I didn’t have a clue what they were singing – I just jumped up and down to the beat!”, Kazim-Richard’s said after the game. “My Turkish is coming on leaps and bounds, at Fenerbahçe there’s four translators so you don’t really have to speak Turkish, but I am trying to learn it.”

Kazim-Richards in his Turkey shirt….

Following The Blades’ relegation Kazim-Richard’s fairytale story continued with his move to Fenerbahçe, where he scored in the Champions League against Chelsea. Eligible to play for Turkey due to his mother’s Turkish-Cypriot nationality, the former Bury man went on to make his international debut against Brazil.

“After I played for Turkey last season against Brazil, I got a call saying Fenerbahçe were interested,” he explained. “Neil Warnock had left Sheffield United, and the new management team didn’t seem that interested in me.

“I’d dreamed of Champions League football and when I met Zico (Fenerbahçe’s then coach) there was no going back.”

…and celebrating his only goal in his Bramall Lane days.

Despite an impressive start to his career at the Şükrü Saracoğlu Stadium in Istanbul, reports have linked Kazim with a move back ‘home’ to England. Although stopping short of dismissing the speculation, he admitted: “I don’t know what the future is. With respect, Turkey is not as good domestically as England and Spain and I want to prove myself against the best, so after the European Championships we’ll sit down and discuss the future”.

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