Matt Turner eyes World Cup starting job with USMNT, more Arsenal minutes
After an improbable journey from undrafted rookie to Allstate MLS Goalkeeper of the Year with the New England Revolution – while also establishing himself as a USMNT regular in the process – Turner now aims to be the main man under the sticks in Qatar, even as he fights to earn his place at the club level with Premier League titans Arsenal.
It’s a tall task for sure, but one that the 28-year-old is facing without trepidation.
“I don’t know how much you know about me or my story,” Turner answered defiantly from Team USA’s training camp in Cologne, Germany, when asked how his current lack of playing time with the Gunners might affect his place in Gregg Berhalter’s pecking order.
“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,” he added.
Training has been the main way for Turner to maintain sharpness as of late, due to his status as Aaron Ramsdale’s backup at Arsenal ever since arriving at the club in July. So far, he’s only played one match under manager Mikel Arteta: a 2- 1 win over FC Zurich last month in the UEFA Europa League.
But with Zack Steffen still recovering from a knee injury at Middlesbrough and unavailable for this month’s camp – and the subsequent friendlies against Japan (Sept. 23) and Saudi Arabia (Sept. 27) – Turner is focused on seizing his chance, with fellow keepers Ethan Horvath (Luton Town) and Sean Johnson (NYCFC) also looking to impress.
“It’s another opportunity for us to get on the field against teams that are going to be playing in the World Cup. Test ourselves against opponents from a different region that we don’t often play against,” Turner said. “That’s the big picture of this one: playing World Cup-caliber teams and getting together and creating those bonds still.”
The same goes for his situation at Arsenal, as Turner targets more club minutes in the EPL with Qatar less than two months away.
“Playing in the Europa League was a nice box to tick,” he said. “I felt really, really good about how I did.
“From there we have 13 games between the end of this break and the World Cup. So busy times ahead.”