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Karacan's ambition

10 October 2012

Jem on Turkey aspirations and facing Liverpool

Jem Karacan says he's still determined to break into Turkey's national side and hopes his Premier League exploits with the Royals will help his chances.

Jemba has represented Turkey, the country of his father, at youth levels from under 17 to under 21 - but is still waiting for his chance to shine on the full international stage.

Despite excelling in three solid campaigns at the Madejski, Karacan's injury at the end of last season has hampered his progress on the international scene - but the 23-year-old is still optimistic.

“When the Turkish people say you’re still not quite ready to come back, it’s a bit of a kick in the ribs. It’s been a while coming back from injury, about five month - but I want to show them what I can do.

“There’s nothing worse than not playing so to be back on the pitch is brilliant. So it's still great that I'm playing for Reading and I just want to help my team get up the table now."

With so many talented midfielders at the club, Karacan realises that competition for places in the side is stiff - but that's what the squad needs, according to the Turk.

“Jay (Tabb) was brilliant when we played together at QPR – we know exactly how each other play. He made his Premier League debut last Saturday and we were all delighted for him.

“Danny (Guthrie) has played in this league before and Leigertwood has done really well up until he got a slight knock. There’s great competition throughout the side and it pushes you and we need that.

“When you put the shirt, you know you’ve worked hard for it. We’re always told that it’s all about the team – which it is," he added.

“If things aren’t going your way then you’ve got to give 100% percent. The Premier League is hard – not just physically, but mentally. You’ve got players popping up in places you don’t expect, so you always have to be on your toes."

Looking ahead to next Saturday's trip to Merseyside, Jem spoke confidently about the challenge of Liverpool and reflected on the Royals' FA Cup triumph in 2010.

“I played against Liverpool twice in the FA Cup a couple of years ago - to be able to glance over at an opponent of Steven Gerrard’s calibre is a real pleasure. Hopefully the team can go and do as well as we did before.

“It’s a fantastic place to play – one of the best stadiums in the world. We just need to go there and do what we have been doing in our last couple of games.

"Ideally we want to play every week but after the break we'll recoup and get ready for Anfield. We've beaten Liverpool there before - we're not scared of them.

“We look at every game as a chance to get three points – that’s all that’s at stake. We just want to go out in every game and prove to people what we can do."

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