NOTTINGHAM, England — Matt Turner said Giovanni Reyna has matured since the 2022 World Cup, when his new Nottingham Forest teammate’s emotional reaction to not being named a starter for the Americans led to USMNT coach Gregg Berhalter nearly sending him home from the tournament.
“He’s grown up a ton right before my eyes,” Turner, the U.S. No. 1, told ESPN on Monday, praising Reyna about a week after the winger joined Forest for the rest of the season on loan from Borussia Dortmund.
In Qatar, Reyna did not respond well when Berhalter informed him ahead of the first U.S. match that he wouldn’t be starting; Reyna later admitted he was “devastated” and let his feelings affect his “training and behavior” for several days.
Since that ugly moment (and its extended aftermath), however, Reyna has tried to re-focus on his priorities, and Turner said that type of new perspective was immediately obvious once Reyna arrived at the Forest training center following his loan move from Borussia Dortmund.
“The best compliment I can give him is that right now I see a consistent approach for him every single day,” Turner said. “He wants to be on the ball and he wants to make an impact on the game with the ball at his feet. I can see him being a really strong asset.”
Turner had heard rumblings about Reyna potentially coming to Nottingham, but his U.S. teammate was coy when Turner texted him about the possibility. Now that the 21-year-old winger is here, Turner is happy to have a fellow American around, particularly since reserve goalkeeper Ethan Horvath recently departed for Championship side Cardiff City.
More importantly, he envisions Reyna playing a key role as Forest fight to keep their place in the Premier League, with the team currently in 16th place on 21 points from 23 games.
“Our coach’s message has been to play a bit more, and Gio’s that type of player,” Turner said. “Once he establishes better connection with some of players and gets more familiar with their movements and how they want the ball, I can see him being a really strong asset.”