Ex-Hearts captain returns to British football with Sunderland

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Former Hearts captain Alim Ozturk has signed for his old coach Jack Ross at Sunderland.

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Former Hearts captain Alim Ozturk. Picture: SNS

Former Hearts captain Alim Ozturk. Picture: SNS

The Turkish centre-back has put pen to paper on a three-year deal with the League One side who’ll be pushing for immediate promotion back to the second tier of English football under their new manager.

The ex-St Mirren and Alloa boss was part of Robbie Neilson’s staff when Ozturk joined the club in the summer of 2014, and he’s managed to successfully convince the 25-year-old to return to British football.

Ozturk was a firm fans’ favourite during his two full seasons in Gorgie. The relationship between player and support was cemented when he scored a 40-yard, injury-time equaliser in a 1-1 draw against derby rivals Hibs at Easter Road.

He would later inherit the captain’s armband after Danny Wilson left the club following the Championship-winning campaign and would later be included in the PFA Scotland Premiership team of the year.

However, poor form at the beginning of the 2016/17 season saw the captaincy transferred to Perry Kitchen.

After falling behind Igor Rossi and John Souttar in the pecking order, Ozturk would return to Turkey in January 2017, signing for Boluspor on an 18-month deal.