Matt Turner is still eyeing the USMNT starting goalkeeper position despite club demotion

Matt Turner, USMNT
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The United States Men’s National Team is in a unique situation regarding their goalkeeping. When looking around at most national teams, their starting goalkeeper also starts for their club team; for the USMNT, that is not the case.

Matt Turner just completed his first season with Premier League side Nottingham Forest, where, following the January transfer of Matz Sels, the 29-year-old got demoted to a backup role.

Despite the lack of starts, Matt Turner still gained valuable experience in the Premier League

Matt Turner, USMNT
Mar 21, 2024; Arlington, Texas, USA; United States goalkeeper Matt Turner (1) in action during the game between the United States and Jamaica at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Tuner still gained plenty of experience prior to Sels transferring in, starting 17 matches in England’s top flight, making 56 saves while allowing 28 goals and keeping two clean sheets. 

“I think I’ve just become overall a lot more adaptive. I’ve had to learn how to do certain things maybe I wasn’t so comfortable with on the fly,” Turner said in a press conference. “I think I’ve become a lot better at dealing with balls into the area, coming for crosses, defending the space behind my back line as well. And yeah, going through hard times on the pitch sometimes and then having to level out and put in a good performance after.

via Telemundo Deportes

Turner has kept a positive approach despite the demotion

Matt Turner, USMNT
Mar 21, 2024; Arlington, Texas, USA; United States goalkeeper Matt Turner (1) faces the Jamaica attack during the second half at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

“I approach training every single day with the same mentality, whether I’m playing or whether I’m not. I work really, really hard. I try to get better in every area that I can and just be ready. I prepare for games as if I’m going to be playing, as exhausting as that can be, that hope that maybe my name will be on the team sheet for that game, even though when I know probably in the back of my mind it’s not,” Turner said. “I prepare like maybe it will be. What if it is? So I try to just maintain that level of professionalism every single day, every training session, and just keep going and understanding that obviously if I want to keep this shirt here, I’ve got to perform when I come here. So I have to stay engaged; I have to stay ready and focused and driven.”

via Telemundo Deportes

That approach seemed to work for Turner, as he logged 210 minutes when his number was called this past March during the USMNT’s CONCACAF Nations League victories over Jamaica and Mexico. He allowed just one goal and recorded four saves and a clean sheet.

The 29-year-old will now reenter a competition with Ethan Horvath of EFL Championship side Cardiff City, where, unlike Tuner, he got consistent playing time at the club level. Turner will look to reclaim his starting spot and play a key role in pre-Copa America friendlies versus Colombia and Brazil before the tournament begins on June 23.

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