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Caulker: Sierra Leone captain explains Pirlo influence in Fatih Karagumruk move

19:43 EAT 01/09/2022
Steven Caulker Sierra Leone
The 30-year-old wants to learn from the former Italy international as he hopes to launch his coaching career in the future

Sierra Leone captain Steven Caulker has explained why he wants to learn from Andrea Pirlo after making the move to Fatih Karagumruk of Turkey.

The AC Milan and Juventus legend is the coach of the Super Lig side, and Caulker wants to learn from him as he hopes to become a coach in the future. Pirlo won the 2006 World Cup with Italy, a combined six Serie A titles with Juventus and AC Milan, and the Uefa Champions League twice.

"I'm happy to be at Karagumruk and I'm looking forward to learning from coach Pirlo," Caulker told BBC Sport Africa.

"I have a long-term goal to be a coach and that was part of my decision in coming to Karagumruk - to learn from one of the best players and someone who is very focused on being an even better coach. That's a good experience for me.

"It's a fresh start for me, to get the chance to work under an amazing football player with bags and bags of experience at the top level. He's got a lot of good staff around him as well, he's worked at the top, so I'm in good hands.

"I'm looking forward to learning from him."

Another reason to join the Turkish side is to ensure he plays more games for Sierra Leone. Caulker has one cap for England but switched allegiance to Sierra Leone, the country of his grandfather, in 2021 and ended up playing in the Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon.

Caulker featured in all the Afcon games against Algeria, Ivory Coast, and Equatorial Guinea as he led Leone Stars as the captain.

"Another important part of me making the move was to play games," Caulker added said.

"I didn't want to sit at Fenerbahce for a year without being given a chance. I wanted to make sure I'm somewhere where the coach wants me.

"I learnt a lot from my mistake of joining Fenerbahce last year, so it's important that this year I join somewhere where they wanted me and I want to play.

"We have got really important Afcon qualifiers coming up and I need to be playing regularly to be able to perform my best in the qualifiers. So that's a big part of my thinking as well.

"I don't want to spend the year on the sidelines. It's important that I play regularly, but I have to fight for my place. But I feel I have a fair chance here to do so."

Before moving to Karagumruk, Caulker had offers from Blackburn Rovers, and he confirms that, after a conversation with the club, he decided that a move to Turkey was the best for him.

"In terms of Blackburn, I had several conversations with them [Blacburn]," Caulker explained.

"I haven't played football in England for a long time, and in some ways, I feel like I still have unfinished business there. But after conversations, I felt that Istanbul will be a better fit for me and a more exciting adventure, working under Pirlo."

Caulker has previously played for Alanyaspor, Fenerbahce, and Gaziantep in Turkey.