TEENAGE prodigy Levent Yalcin could be York City's answer to Michael Owen - as the young Turkish forward goes from strength to strength on the international stage.

Despite having yet to play for the Minstermen at first team level - he was an unused substitute in the 3-0 home victory over Bristol Rovers at the end of last season - the 17-year-old striking sensation has stirred up a storm playing for Turkey at Under-18s level.

And having fired his way in the reckoning for the U19s European Championships with five goals in seven matches for the U18s, Yalcin could well play a key role for the Minstermen as they push for promotion.

Yalcin, whose father is Turkish, hit top form representing the U18s at this month's Balkans Championships in Greece, where he scored three goals in three appearances.

After less than a week back in North Yorkshire, Yalcin will fly back to Turkey next Tuesday to team up with the U19s for their double-header against Israel.

"In the Balkans, we were in a group with Bulgaria, Greece and Macedonia," explained Yalcin, who was one of four overseas-based players in the Turkish squad. "We drew the first game 1-1 with Bulgaria and I scored in that.

We won the second one 2-1 against Greece and I scored in that and then we played Macedonia and lost 3-2 and I scored again.

"I've scored five in seven now so I'm doing all right.

"I go out on Tuesday to meet up with the Under-19s for two friendly games with Israel and then I think the European Championships qualifiers start in September."

Yalcin, who had been at Newcastle's centre of excellence before teaming up with York City, had come to the Minstermen as a midfielder, but his accuracy against international defence could change all that.

"It has been fun, I get more of the ball," he said. "I like playing up front now I'm getting used to it again.

"I used to play there as a little kid, then I moved midfield.

"The first time I started playing up front properly was with Turkey, so when I came back to York I started playing up front for the reserves and scoring."

Yalcin's commitments to the international stage could see him turning out more for his country than for his club, but that has not stopped him gunning for a first team place at Bootham Crescent.

"I hope to get my debut for the first team by the end of the season," added the Middlesbrough-born youngster. "I don't think my travelling to play for Turkey will get in my way, as long as I get back okay.

"I like to lead the line for City. I'm aiming for ten goals before Christmas then go from there."

Updated: 11:54 Thursday, July 18, 2002