Arsenal 28yo admits recent injury left him on verge of tears

BALTIMORE, MARYLAND: Goalkeeper Matt Turner of Arsenal applauds the crowd following their 2-0 win over Everton during a preseason friendly at M&T Bank Stadium on July 16, 2022. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Joining Arsenal in the summer, Matt Turner has so far had to settle for a backup role with his new club, for the most part. The goalkeeper has only featured competitively in the Europa League, with Aaron Ramsdale starting in the Premier League.

Having said that, Turner was making a good impression in his early European appearances. Keeping three clean sheets in four games, the U.S. international’s pre-World Cup form looked good.

Then, with Arsenal preparing for their toughest game of the group stage – an away trip to PSV – Turner was ruled out of the clash with an injury.

Speaking to the media this week, Turner has admitted that was a rough week for him.

“It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done,” Turner said. “I actually was like on the border of tears. I know that sounds a bit soft, but I’ve never had to do that before.

“I’ve never had to really listen to my body and feel like maybe it wasn’t the right move to push through something, because I’ve pushed through many injuries in my career, many little nicks that might have held someone else out, that’s never been my M.O.

“So to go against everything that was ingrained in me and look out for myself was challenging, and that can be hard in professional sports.

“I know that my opportunities are few and far between on the pitch. Also, the way that the game was building up, against PSV away, it was a game that I felt like I could have gotten out there and done very well.

“It was a game that would have played to some of my strengths: shot-stopping, defensive actions. I knew that it was an opportunity for me to show myself, and that was part of the reason it was so hard for me to go out there and say that I couldn’t go.”

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 20: Matt Turner of Arsenal celebrates after their side's first goal during the UEFA Europa League group A match between Arsenal FC and PSV Eindhoven at Emirates Stadium on October 20, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND: Matt Turner of Arsenal celebrates after their side’s first goal during the UEFA Europa League group A match between Arsenal FC and PSV Eindhoven at Emirates Stadium on October 20, 2022. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Turner hasn’t played for Arsenal since then, missing the FC Zurich game through injury before returning to the bench against Chelsea, Brighton, and Wolves. But he looks set to be a starter at the World Cup, taking the number one shirt with the U.S.

You can understand why Turner had such a strong emotional reaction to his absence. As he tries to make a good impression with his new club, he needs those kinds of big games like the one away to PSV to prove himself.

With the World Cup just weeks away, he may also have worried about how his international manager would view his limited appearances and injury absence.

It’s also a reminder of the highly-strung environment these players are involved in, where so much of their career revolves around being lucky enough to get chances to impress when they’re ready to take them.

But if Turner has a strong World Cup tournament with the U.S., it shouldn’t be too hard to put a couple of missed Europa League matches behind him.

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