Matt Turner says he was “on the border of tears” after picking up a groin strain that ruled him out of Arsenal’s trip to PSV Eindhoven at the end of October.
The USA international was set to start the match against the Dutch side but picked up a groin problem on the morning of the match. He watched from the sidelines as the Gunners went down 2-0 and also missed the 1-0 win over FC Zurich at the Emirates, another match he would likely have played in.
Revealing that he would have played through a similar issue in the past, the 28-year-old said he opted to listen to his body for fear of exacerbating the problem.
“It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done,” he told The Athletic.
“I actually was like on the border of tears. I know that sounds a bit soft, but I’ve never had to do that before.
“I’ve never had to really listen to my body and feel like maybe it wasn’t the right move to push through something, because I’ve pushed through many injuries in my career, many little nicks that might have held someone else out, that’s never been my M.O.
“So to go against everything that was ingrained in me and look out for myself was challenging, and that can be hard in professional sports.
When Turner signed for Arsenal he promised to push Aaron Ramsdale as much as he could on the training ground while knowing opportunities between the sticks could be limited. Missing such a high-profile match – the Gunners’ most tricky in the Europa League – made his absence at the Phillips Stadion all the harder.
“I know that my opportunities are few and far between on the pitch,” he said.
“Also, the way that the game was building up, against PSV away, it was a game that I felt like I could have gotten out there and done very well.
“It was a game that would have played to some of my strengths: shot stopping, defensive actions. I knew that it was an opportunity for me to show myself, and that was part of the reason it was so hard for me to go out there and say that I couldn’t go.”
In the end, Ramsdale ‘deputised’ and made a real hash of his first-ever European performance, flapping at a corner as Luke de Jong sealed the victory for the home side.
All’s well that ends well. Arsenal recovered to secure top spot in the group and Turner is back to full fitness and ready to face England, Wales and Iran in the World Cup.
“100 percent, no limitations, smashing balls again, all good,” he said.
Hope he plays, though Ramsdale will be hard to beat to get in the team.
I do feel for him missing a game but he came in knowing he wasn’t number one so has to just keep working and hope for the best.
It was a shame as he needs game time so that Arteta can see if he’s up to standing in for Ramsdale which almost inevitably at some stage in the PL he’ll have to do. That said, I strongly doubt that the score line would have been better with him in goal that night. It was a pretty poor performance all round by a strong Arsenal team.
“Smashing balls again” – fantastic!
Commiserations, Matt. When I was young I listened to my body every day. It said, “masturbate,” over and over. I listened. But as we get older, our bodies change, Matt, and now I’m the one doing the talking, but it’s not listening. “Up! Up, I say!” Silence.
How’s the seeing eye dog working out for you?
Should at least get 3 games at the world cup to show what he can do, probably play more than ramsdale will
Good point Dan, it will be interesting if Buyako has a one on one situation with him also, lets hope all our guys have a fab injury free experience win or lose and without the usual troll screen warriors digging them out if they made a mistake, can you imagine it if Buyako missed another pen on a shootout… i hope this tournament goes well but something tells me its not, i have this underlying feeling something is going to happen and teams will pull out..