USMNT’s Matt Turner wants to ‘get out of my comfort zone’ amid battle for No. 1 goalkeeper role


Arsenal reserve goalkeeper Matt Turner came inside United States Men’s national team training camp with a huge opportunity ahead of the friendlies against September Japan and Saudi Arabia. After joining the Gunners in the summer, his mission was to earn minutes and ensuring that he is in the best possible position to earn a starting role at the World Cup in Qatar.

Despite playing fewer games than expected as Arsenal’s Europa League game with PSV was postponed due to the death of Queen Elizabeth II, the 28-year-old will be given the chance to take that starting role with Zack Steffen miss this camp due to a knee injury.

Turner moved abroad to London and became a father while joining a new club, but he is taking this season of change and the challenges that come with it one step at a time. Speaking to reporters Monday after USMNT practice, Turner recalled a meeting he had with his goalkeeping coach as a moment when it started to click for him.

“Looking back to now, the difference in the goalkeeper that I am is huge, and I’ve changed a lot,” Turner said. “I’m looking forward to representing the country and getting these opportunities to hopefully show to everyone as well.”

Working with world-class players at Arsenal, Turner grew up training every day to put him in this situation. While they sometimes get the better of him, he’s also upped his game to compete. See internationals on the attack like Gabriel Jesus, Bukayo Saka and Martin Odegaard will do that for everyone because they are on a different level than Turner’s New England Revolution teammates.

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While the move to London was a new experience for Turner, he has friends from Fairfield University who are back in town and with whom he has a closer relationship with Arsenal, which was a welcome surprise. Although he has a good understanding of English culture, Turner is not quick to mention roundabouts on roundabouts. unlike Brenden Aaronsonwho told reporters he was on his “golf grind” Turner won’t have time to bond with a new baby and hope to take over the No. 1 role, but he’s enjoying life in England nonetheless.

When asked how his lack of playing time would affect his acuity, Turner said that “it depends on how you look at your situation and view your comfort levels. And for me, I want to continue to get better. I know my ceiling isn’t up yet. and it will be hard work and some risky career moves at the end of the day.

“But if I want to get where I want to get, I have to get a little bit outside of my comfort zone, and that will help my sharpness every day and my approach to the game in general.”

This is when it comes back to the competition for places at Arsenal. While Turner may have to shake off some rust as a result of not playing regularly, it’s also important to stand up when called upon. Even when Steffen was available for Middlesbrough, he made his own mistakes that gave Turner this opportunity with the approaching World Cup and this international breakthrough will also set him well when he returns to Arsenal.

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After this camp, Turner has six games (between Europa League and League Cup) to play for Arsenal before the United States kick off their 67-day World Cup campaign in Qatar. If he includes this international break, he has plenty of time to shake off the rust with a game about every eight days. First there will be a date with his Arsenal teammate Takehiro Tomiyasu and Japan on Friday, September 23.