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Matt Turner believes Arsenal move has sharpened his game, even with playing time being scarce

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Matt Turner has made just one competitive appearance for Arsenal since his summer transfer from the New England Revolution, but that lack of playing time hasn’t stopped him from benefiting from the move to the English Premier League.

Currently the backup to England national team goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale at Arsenal, Turner has yet to make an appearance in league play and has been limited to one Europa League appearance. Despite the limited playing time, Turner has made the most of the opportunity to train in a high-level environment, which he believes has helped him sharpen his skills.

“I think my game has come a long way,” Turner said. “Since I began at Arsenal, I’d say the speed and intensity of everything has picked up every single day. Mikel doesn’t accept anything except full gas at training sessions so you have to bring it or you could be found out pretty quickly on the field.

“For me it’s trying to bring the same consistency and be ready for any moment that I am going to be able to play,” Turner added. “Making saves against world class players, sometimes getting found out by those players in training, but it’s all learning. Looking back to when I arrived to now, I am huge, I have changed massively, and I am looking forward to representing the country.”

Turner’s lone start for Arsenal came in a 2-1 UEFA Europa League win over Swiss champions FC Zurich on Sept. 8, as the American made two saves in Switzerland to preserve the group stage win. Although Turner has gone from a No. 1 starter in MLS to a No. 2 option in England, his focus has remained the same since his summer move.

“I don’t know how much you know about me or my story,” Turner said when asked about his sharpness despite only playing one match this season. “That’s not really the kind of way that I operate every single day. I go to training, I’m going to try to get better to try to learn and improve.

“Playing in the Europa League was a nice box to tick,” Turner added. “I felt really, really good about how I did. After the first five minutes, I sort of settled into the game and now it’s about continuing to move forward and focus on these two games here. From there we have 13 games between the end of this break and the World Cup. So busy times ahead.”

Turner’s stock has risen steadily within the USMNT squad since debuting under Berhalter in February of 2021. The Fairfield University product started in all six matches of the USMNT’s Gold Cup-winning run last summer before posting five victories in eight starts during the octagonal round of Concacaf World Cup Qualifying.

Turner also posted two shutouts during the USMNT’s four-match June window earlier this year, before officially move to London prior to Arsenal summer camp. Turner has not only been able to learn from Ramsdale, but he is against plenty of international talents including Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Jesus, Martin Odegaard, and others, a luxury that other goalkeepers in the USMNT pool do not have at this current moment.

Trevor Ruszkowski/ISI Photos

Turner heads into the September friendlies expected to be Berhalter’s top choice in goal, with Zack Steffen missing camp after being sidelined by a recent injury. Ethan Horvath and Sean Johnson are also in camp and competing to improve their chances of making the USMNT World Cup squad, but Turner’s success in World Cup qualifying should keep him as Berhalter’s top option in Steffen’s absence.

The USMNT will face two different tests against Japan and Saudi Arabia, both of whom will also be heading to Qatar. It will be the first head-to-head meetings for the USMNT against Japan and Saudi Arabia in over 15 years, as both AFC nations also aim to fine-tune their rosters ahead of November’s opening group stage action.

Although there is little familiarity with both opponents, Turner believes plenty of positives can be taken from the Americans’ final two friendlies of 2022.

“It’s another opportunity for us to get on the field against teams that are going to be playing in the World Cup,” Turner said. “Test ourselves against opponents from a different region that we don’t often play against. That’s the big picture of this, playing World Cup-caliber teams, getting together and creating those bonds still.”

Comments

  1. When Steffen was on the bench @ Man City, certain fans said ‘He needs to play!’ Now, Turner is on the bench @ Arsenal and he doesn’t need to play? He’s unquestionably the US starter?! US fans are dumb confused! We don’t hold every US player to the same standard. I see this from platform to platform. Are we really trying to help grow the sport in our country? We can’t even remember our points of views that we have on certain players. 2 starts for the US in September isn’t good enough prep for the WC in November for Turner!

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    • We all probably do it somewhat because we like who we like. I’m not sure it matters as much for GKs, because there’s less cardio involved. I believe there’s also a couple more cup matches for Arsenal so if he looks fine this week I’m fine with it in November. Navas was still awesome for CR when he was the backup at Real Madrid.

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      • JR, So Steffen is on the bench, he shouldn’t play for the US. Turner on the bench, he’s absolutely a no doubt starter. No amount of your excuse making, can make it make sense!!! (We all do it somewhat!??). That’s lame. I’m disappointed in how much extreme bias amongst the fan base, there still is! I think, the sport will grow more in the US, if people actually watched the sport!

      • The thing is, Turner hasn’t really been on the bench that long.

        I’ll worry a lot more if he’s rotted on the bench for a year. Does anybody remember how long it took Steffen lingering on Man City’s bench before he really started dropping off? I do remember he was good for awhile…but once his lack of game sharpness started showing it was pretty obvious to everyone, too.

      • I actually supported Steffen throughout his time at Man City that he could still start. I don’t think he lost his job because he was sitting I think he should lose his spot because he’s been poor now that he’s played. If he’s healthy he’d still be on my roster for Qatar.
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        I don’t think of it as lame I just recognize sometimes I bring my own biases that aren’t always right. I agree there are a lot of people that comment about players they never watch besides maybe a goal highlight and that’s frustrating to people like you and I that watch a lot of soccer. I’m almost always going to defer to the NT team staff when it comes to players for this very reason they see every match of all these guys. They talk with the staffs at the club. Where I disagree is situations like Lleget and Roldan where being a possession CM is just not at all in their skill set.
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        I’d be interested from anyone that pays for discord membership either here or on other sites I’d assume there is far less extremism on pay sites. If you are paying for discussion are you going to be more thoughtful about your opinions.
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        Last I don’t think most people are trying to grow the sport when they come here. They come here because their friends or co-workers look at them like their crazy when the say things like “Do you think Sargent will ever push Pukki out of the striker spot?” You can walk into work and gripe about the Vikings or the Celtics but most can’t complain about the manager at Celtic.

      • It’s Ok: is Shaq Moore the real snub? I hear he’s been very good for Nashville whereas Yedlin has been mostly average in Miami?

    • “We don’t hold every US player to the same standard. I see this from platform to platform.”

      That’s because every player is different. And the dirty little secret is that some players are more important than others.

      And, by the way, goalkeepers are very different from outfield players

      The process by which any player is selected to play for the USMNT is not an objective process, never has been and never will be.

      You don’t have to be any kind of genius to see that Steffen has been declining as a player for some time now. How do I know this? Because he looks and plays like shit, that’s how. Something, either physical or mental has been wrong with him and it appears to have sapped his confidence.

      “2 starts for the US in September isn’t good enough prep for the WC in November for Turner”. Based on what criteria? Says who?

      There is no number. Or more accurately , 2 is enough for Gregg should he choose to start Turner.

      The job of a backup keeper is to come off the bench after having played the equivalent of only “2 starts for the US in September” and have a stellar game. It is not an uncommon occurrence.

      Right now it’s the manager’s choice and he doesn’t have to prove anything to anyone.

      He just has to be right.

      Reply
  2. Thanks for this, Ives and Larry Henry. I am an American who has been a Leicester City supporter, for a long time. I want Turner to show his stuff at Arsenal and WC, then transfer and go to a Leicester, because I am not a fan of Danny Ward atm, or another mid table EPL team. I can see Turner being pushing 40 at 37-39 years old, being still EPL quality like a American Buffon. I am confident Turner will do well as our starter vs England.

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  3. I am a fair weather Revs fan so I have seen Turner quite a lot. He has unbelievable reflexes. He is developing in other ways but how can you teach great reflexes?! Of all of our keepers, he is most likely to make that game winning save.

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  4. I’ve thought for awhile Turner was a breed apart from the rest of our keepers in confidence, vision, and ability…I just wasn’t crazy about his ability to play out of the back.

    So it was like…he’s going to Arsenal, which sort of invented playing out of the back? Uh…okay. But clearly he wasn’t crazy about what he didn’t do well either, and was like: hey, I’m gonna go get good at that, too, and wasn’t dissuaded when Arsenal came a-calling.

    You can definitely see that paying off for him…and I definitely think he could be our starting keeper through this cycle and the next, and maybe even the one after that, since keepers playing until they’re 35 or older is hardly unusual these days.

    I sort of figured for most of the cycle he’s our starter in Qatar. It just really wasn’t close between him and Steffen no matter how many times Gregg trotted Steffen out there.

    Reply

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