U.S. keeper Turner primed for duel with Arsenal team mate Saka

AL RAYYAN, Qatar, Nov 23 (Reuters) – U.S. goalkeeper Matt Turner needs no reminder of the threat Bukayo Saka poses to his country’s hopes of upsetting their Group B clash in the World Cup Friday.

The New Jersey-born Turner joined Premier League leaders Arsenal from MLS side New England Revolution in June and can hone his game against 21-year-old Saka every day in training.

He was therefore not the least bit surprised when Saka scored twice in England’s 6-2 game against Iran on Monday, hours before Turner and his team-mates drew 1-1 with Wales.

“I think it’s pretty clear. He’s one of the young stars in world football,” said Turner, who started four Europa League games for Arsenal, where he’s understudy for Aaron Ramsdale. member of the England team. Rayyan Sports Complex on Wednesday.

“He’s a top player and I don’t think you need me to tell anyone in our team how much of a threat he is in the game.

“He scores goals in different ways. He’s really developed his maturity, he’s gotten stronger from what I understand.

“He can change any game he’s in.”

Turner, who only started playing soccer when he was 14 to help with his primary pursuits of basketball and baseball, is one of many Team USA players who play or have played in England. So there will be no surprises at Al Bayt. Stadium on Friday.

Midfield talisman Christian Pulisic (Chelsea), defenders Antonee Robinson and Tim Ream (both Fulham), Tyler Adams (Leeds United) and Josh Sargent (Norwich City), were all in the starting line-up against the Netherlands. Wales, as does former Arsenal starlet Yunus Musah, 19, who played for England age group sides before deciding to switch allegiance to the United States

Celtic defender Cameron Carter-Vickers has been on Tottenham Hotspur’s books for six years and has closely followed the rise of England goalscoring machine Harry Kane.

Turner believes the local knowledge will help his teammates face a huge challenge against an England side who perfectly timed their return to form after a poor start.

“Any time you play against familiar faces or a familiar country, you look forward to the chance to compete against your peers,” he said.

“Obviously friends off the pitch and then when you step on the pitch you have full focus for 90 minutes. They have very talented players and they’re one of the favorites to win the tournament so it’s going to be a big challenge.

“It’s going to take a huge amount of focus, but we’re looking forward to it.”

Turner kept a record 14 clean sheets in his first 20 appearances for the USA senior team and follows in the footsteps of former USA keeper Brad Friedel and Casey Keller who enjoyed impressive careers in England.

He said his move to Arsenal in June was perfect preparation for the challenges he faces in Qatar.

“I think there was a steep learning curve,” he said of his first few months in London. “But I think one of my biggest strengths is the ability to adapt and learn.

“I also learned a lot under (Arsenal manager) Mikel Arteta. It challenges me every day, tactically, technically, emotionally. It’s been great for my game.

“The most important thing is the consistency that some of these guys bring every day. The intensity is really, really high.”

Reporting by Martyn Herman, editing by Pritha Sarkar

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