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Wednesday, July 24, 2024

‘Moments to leave behind forever’ – USMNT GK Turner on errors

NOTTINGHAM, England — Matt Turner has conceded that his season has already had “some moments I’d like to leave behind forever,” but the United States men’s national team No. 1 told ESPN on Monday that he is “addicted to life in the Premier League” and absolutely plans to battle for his position between the posts at Nottingham Forest.

“Now I’ve got a real fight on my hands for the position,” Turner said, referencing Forest’s decision to sign Belgian Matz Sels from Strasbourg last week. “I’m no stranger to being in these types of scenarios. I’ve been overlooked and doubted many times in my life and my career, and I wouldn’t have gotten to this point if I wasn’t confident in myself.”

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He added: “I can be somebody that has a real impact on this football club.”

Turner certainly knows about competing for playing time; as recently as nine months before the 2022 World Cup, he was on the bench as Zack Steffen started a World Cup qualifier for the Americans only to then see Turner seize the starting job and ultimately play every minute of every game for the Americans in Qatar.

Now, after beginning the season as Forest’s No. 1, Turner is battling again following several high-profile errors — often involving playing the ball with his feet — that have cost Forest critical points in their quest to stay in the Premier League. Forest are 16th in the table, two points ahead of Everton in the relegation zone, but face a potential points deduction over breaches of the league’s Profit and Sustainability rules.

To his credit, Turner said he understood the pressure the club is under and “didn’t blame them” for looking at other options “given the way things had gone for me.”

“This is a results business,” he said. “And we haven’t been getting the results that we probably deserve or need.”

Turner did admit that he has felt snake-bit at times this season, as it seems every miscue he makes has resulted in the other team scoring.

“Everything that could possibly have gone wrong in certain moments has gone completely wrong,” he said. “Sometimes as goalkeepers you might get away with one or two things, and it feels like this season I’ve gotten away with zero. It’s tough to take.”

Turner was quick to turn the focus back to the club, however, and the fight to avoid relegation in the second half of the season. He and his family have settled in well in Nottingham, and he desperately wants to help keep the team in the top flight. While some might wonder if Turner has considered a return to MLS, it’s a suggestion he waves away.

“When I was over there, all I wanted to do was be over here,” he said. “I’m sort of addicted to life in the Premier League — I want to be around it. I want to continue to get better, and I think that this is the place for me to do that.”

Whatever Forest’s ultimate fate, this summer is a critical one for Turner as the U.S. will host the Copa America with an eye toward the World Cup in North America in 2026. Turner is in regular contact with USMNT coach Gregg Berhalter, and he has kept the coach up to date on his club situation.

Berhalter has been supportive but there are never any guarantees, according to Turner. Being the starting goalkeeper for the national team is “everything I’ve ever wanted,” Turner said, and he is determined to do everything he can to hold on to the position.

“It’s never a perfect pathway,” he said. “I hope I have the chance to play a run of games in Copa America this summer [and] I have to put my foot down and show to my teammates and the coaching staff that I’m still the guy to be the No. 1 and to move forward with me between the sticks.”

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