Thursday, April 25, 2024

Turner: I’m a better player but I’d have liked more game time

Matt Turner says his first season at Arsenal was ‘amazing’ but he admits he didn’t get as much game time as he had hoped.

Signed from New England Revolution last summer, the USA international made all his appearances in cup competitions, featuring five times in the Europa League and twice in the FA Cup.

He was due more minutes but an injury suffered in late October ruled him out of two further Europa League matches and the Carabao Cup defeat to Brighton.

In total, he kept four clean sheets for the Gunners and also starred for his country at the World Cup in Qatar.

Unlike most of his Arsenal teammates, Turner has a hectic summer ahead. The US have two Concacaf Nations League fixtures in the next couple of weeks before turning attention to the Gold Cup. In all likelihood, he will miss a big chunk of the Gunners’ pre-season preparations.

Reflecting on a life-changing 12 months, in which he also became a father, Turner said: “It’s changed me, made me a better goalkeeper, a better person, a better player.

“Besides the on-field stuff, off the field moving to a new country, experiencing new cultures and new styles of play, a new manager with different expectations, playing with pressure and all that kind of stuff led me into the World Cup and having a great World Cup.

“This season was amazing at Arsenal. I learned so much and we won games, but I would have liked to play a little bit more. On the personal side, I didn’t hit as many goals as I would have really liked to.”

It will be interesting to see how next season shapes up for Turner. Given Aaron Ramsdale’s status as the club’s undisputed first-choice keeper, you’d imagine he’ll be asked to start next season’s Champions League fixtures. That could leave Turner, who turns 29 this month (until then he’s 28, that’s how it works), feeding off scraps.

Understandably, the American sports media were also keen to get Turner’s take on Arsenal teammate Folarin Balogun following his switch of international allegiance.

The striker was a regular for England under-21s but has opted to play for the USA as they gear up for a World Cup in 2026 that they part-host.

“I had a pre-season with him at Arsenal and we developed a pretty good relationship but then he left to go on loan,” said Turner.

“He scored lots of goals on his loan spell and he has done really, really well. It’s someone to be excited about and I think that knowing his personality, he’ll fit in well with the group.

“Flo is a really talented player that’s going to bring a fiery edge to the group, he’s a super competitive guy and that fits in well with the people we have in this locker room already.

“Again, he’s going to be a great addition and creates more competition at that No 9 spot and when you have competition like that it elevates everyone else’s game.”

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Qwaliteee

League Cup, FA Cup.

Try improving in those competitions first.

Johnny 4 Hats

Whenever I see him under pressure with the ball at his feet I think “giraffe on roller-skates”.

Qwaliteee

He actually had a good World Cup, which was in stark contrast to his club displays.

If anything happened to Ramsdale (injuries), I’d be worried, I don’t mind telling you.

Johnny 4 Hats

I feel like Karl Hein or Okonkwo aren’t too far away from providing good cover. I’m guessing Turner heads to Turkey ala Runarsson and Karius once they mature.

Chuck Felsea

I have seen Okonkwo play for Sturm Graz several times since January and he generally played quite well. He has also won the Austrian Cup with them. Basically they haven’t given their previous, experienced keeper a new contract and thus benched him for the rest of the season, replacing him with Okonkwo in winter. Since then he has played every game, apart from the last league game, which was a “farewell” game for the previous keeper, but also irrelevant, since they had already secured the second place in the league. They are actually interested in another loan for him, but… Read more »

Leon

He was a bit erratic when he was given game time.
I don’t see him displacing Ramsdale any time soon..

Anon

I actually thought he was starting to look good but then he had some time out and looked really nervy when he came back
Maybe just needs a run of games

A Different George

Absolutely fine for a backup keeper. Very good shot-stopper and surprisingly effective with his feet in the World Cup (scared his American teammates with his nerve, but in fact played out every time).

By the way, I noticed that Guardiola, though going for the treble, kept faith with his “cup keeper” for the FA Cup final–as Wenger would. And those are the two managers who have had the most influence on Arteta (along with Moyes, where the issue of cup finals and Europe was moot). So, I don’t think it’s certain that Ramsdale will get every Champions League group match

Silentstan

Underwhelming signing who’s distribution is pretty dire

AusGunner

I think he was fine, about as good a “young” second choice keeper as you can hope for but it’s hard to see him staying beyond next season or the one after with a home world cup on the horizon.

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