Gulum may not be as well-known in Australia as his Olyroos team-mates Mark Milligan, Nick Ward, Mark Bridge, or Adrian Leijer but he’s making a name for himself in one of the toughest leagues in the world.

While his game time has been limited in the Turkish First Division, Gulum’s experience at Vestel Manisaspor has impressed Australian selectors enough for him to earn another call-up, having first being selected in June when the Olyroos played Jordan. The side has gathered on the NSW Central Coast ahead of two crucial 2008 Olympic qualifiers to be held in Gosford and Newcastle.

“He’s a left-footed player. He usually plays on the left side in a back four,” said Graham Arnold.

“He’s fairly new to the group. He’s got some qualities. Defensively we need to do some work with him but he’s definitely got some quality.”

20-year-old Gulum has played for North Coburg United in the Victorian State League and while he did not play recently when the U23s snatched a 0-0 draw against their highly-rated Iraqi counterparts, he was part of the squad.

Before he left Australia two years ago, Gulum described his love of football with local press in Victoria saying, “It’s something unique. You’ve got to use your mind and you’ve got to have skills at the same time.

“I picked it up when I was nine years old and ever since then, I’ve enjoyed playing it and I’ve improved myself to become a better player.”

Interestingly, Gulum maintains a Myspace page that can be seen here. Popular with his friends in Australia it also features the track “Eye of the Tiger”.

Olyroos v DPR Korea
Saturday 8 Sept, kick-off 7pm AEST
EnergyAustralia Stadium, Newcastle

Australia v Lebanon
Wednesday 12 Sept, kick-off 7pm AEST
Bluetongue Stadium, Gosford

The Qantas Under 23s squad for the home qualifying matches against DPR Korea and Lebanon is:

Mark Bridge (Newcastle Jets), Leigh Broxham (Melbourne Victory), Nathan Burns* (Adelaide United), Billy Celeski (Perth Glory), Bruce Djite (Adelaide United), Aaron Downes (Chesterfield, England), Ersan Gulum (Vestel Manisaspor, Turkey), Adrian Leijer (Fulham, England), Trent McClenahan (Hereford United, England), Mark Milligan (Sydney FC), Stuart Musialik (Newcastle Jets), Bradley Porter (Central Coast Mariners), Kristian Sarkies (Adelaide United), Matthew Spiranovic (Nuremberg, Germany), Nikolai Topor-Stanley (Perth Glory), Tando Velaphi (Perth Glory), Dario Vidosic (Nuremberg, Germany), Danny Vukovic (Central Coast Mariners), Nick Ward (QPR, England), David Williams (Brondby, Denmark), Ruben Zadkovich (Sydney FC)
* Suspended for first match against DPR Korea

Train-on players – Nigel Boogaard (Central Coast Mariners), Troy Hearfield (Newcastle Jets), Jobe Wheelhouse (Newcastle Jets)