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Gundogan denies liking controversial Tosun post for political reasons

03:53 SAST 2019/10/14
Ilkay Gundogan Germany 2019-20
The Manchester City playmaker attracted criticism for interacting with the controversial social media post this week, but has defended himself

Germany midfielder Ilkay Gundogan hit back after he was criticised for liking a supposedly politically-charged social media post from Turkey striker Cenk Tosun, insisting he was only trying to 'support' a friend.

Everton forward Tosun scored a late winner in Turkey's 1-0 victory over Albania on Friday – he and team-mates celebrating with a military-style salute.

Those actions were widely interpreted as a gesture of support of Turkey's armed offensive against Kurds in Syria.

Tosun subsequently posted a photo of celebration on social media and Gundogan and Germany team-mate Emre Can 'liked' the upload.

But Gundogan - who has previously been pictured with Turkey's controversial president Recep Tayyip Erdogan - insists he was not trying to make a political statement by interacting with Tosun's post.

He also suggested it was a 'pity' that he and Can were singled out by the media, who he believes are targeting clicks ahead of quality content.

"It is blatant what is written these days is for clicks. I thought I liked a photo of a friend I've lived with in Manchester, who's having a tough time at Everton, barely playing, then scoring a goal and leading his team to victory," Gundogan told reporters after scoring a brace in Germany's 3-0 win over Estonia.

"Next, I believe 200,000 other people have liked this image, footballers from all over the world. Then we are the two picked and made a story out of. It's a pity.

"There was absolutely no political intention behind it. Emre and I are both consistent against any kind of war and terror, no matter where it takes place in the world.

"That's why it was only intended as a pure support for our friend."

Tosun has only played 35 minutes for Everton in the Premier League this season as coach Marco Silva has preferred to use Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Moise Kean as his centre forwards.

The 28-year-old joined the Toffees from Besiktas in January 2018 when Sam Allardyce was in charge, but has only managed eight goals and three assists in 40 league appearances since.

Tosun was linked with a return to Turkey with Besiktas during the summer transfer window but a move never eventuated.