United States goalkeeper Matt Turner has admitted he’ll have to improve with the ball at his feet if he’s to fit in at Arsenal.
The 27-year-old has just one more game to play for the New England Revolution before he officially completes his move to the Premier League – first announced back in February.
Turner is regarded among the best shot-stoppers in Major League Soccer, but doesn’t get the chance to play with the ball at his feet much for the Revs, who prefer a more direct style of play under Bruce Arena – only five MLS teams rank lower for attempted passes by goalkeepers this season.
Based on his time with Gregg Berhalter’s USMNT, Turner believes he’s capable of adjusting to what Mikel Arteta needs at Arsenal, but admits it’ll take some hard work.
“I have to train at a higher level,” Turner told The Athletic. “The style of play with the Revolution is mighty old school. If there’s pressure, we don’t really try to play out of it too much.
“At Arsenal, the goalkeepers are required to play a little bit more with the ball, playing in the system rather than just sort of going out there. They have to follow tactics and game plans a little more closely. Those are things that I know are valued with the national team that I’ll be challenged more with Arsenal.
“In December and January, I got to spend weeks at a time with the national team in buildup to games. And in all those games, I feel like I was pretty solid with the ball at my feet.
“Apart from the one blip in Canada, pretty solid connecting passes, making the right decisions. And then I don’t train exactly like that when I’m with the Revs, so I lose it. I get it for a couple of weeks, then I lose it. Now I’ll be training that way all the time.”
Speaking to 90min‘s Football Americana podcast back in December, Turner revealed it was his ‘dream’ to play in the Premier League.
Listen now to 90min’s brand podcast, Football Americana. On this edition, Yael Averbuch West talks to USMNT and soon-to-be Arsenal star Matt Turner about his late start to the game, how Peter Schmeichel influenced his decision to become a goalkeeper and his ambitions in the game.
With that dream now set to become a reality, things still don’t appear to have sunk in for Turner.
“You can imagine this stuff, but only in a fantasy,” he said. “You know that it’s never actually going to happen. Thinking about all the little things along the way that had to break for this to be possible, all the signs and all the omens, it’s all crazy. It’s really crazy. I never thought that this would actually happen for me. I’m just so excited and blessed.”
For now, though, Turner’s attention turns to international duty, where he’ll feature for the USMNT in friendlies against Morocco and Uruguay and Concacaf Nations League games against Grenada and El Salvador.