Matt Turner admitted he “didn’t do enough” to play regularly for Arsenal, but insisted the move still helped him become the United States’ No. 1 goalkeeper.
The 29-year-old made his debut for Nottingham Forest in Saturday’s 2-1 defeat at Emirates Stadium after completing a £10 million move from the Gunners earlier in the week.
– Stream on ESPN+: LaLiga, Bundesliga, more (U.S.)
Turner played just seven games for Arsenal after signing from the New England Revolution last summer, yet started all four matches for the USMNT at the Qatar World Cup.
Reflecting on his time in north London after facing his former club on the opening weekend of the Premier League season, Turner said: “It was always a good stepping stone for my career to play for Arsenal, to be at Arsenal.
“It helped me to become number one for the national team and play in the World Cup and that was always the goal and now I’ve found myself playing in the Premier League at another club.
“You always kind of got to get over here, get your foot in the door and find what’s right and today I felt really good.”
Asked whether he regretted not being given more opportunities under Mikel Arteta as they pushed Manchester City in the title race for much of last season, Turner said: “Sure, but obviously I didn’t do enough to earn that so I’m self-aware enough. I thought I did well in the opportunities that I had to play.
“But again, the team is at the top of the table for most of the season and when that’s the case you don’t really change the goalkeeper very much.”
Turner also revealed he asked to leave Arsenal in search of first-team football.
“I think for me it was something that was definitely on my mind,” he said. “I wanted to go and play and find places to play, but at the end of last season when I brought that up it very much seemed like it wasn’t on the cards from conversations with the front office, staff members.
“If there was ever a league in Europe that I wanted to play in it was this one, so it’s been a goal of mine to prove myself in the Premier League and hopefully I can do that for 37 more games.”
Arsenal are close to signing Brentford goalkeeper David Raya in a £30 million deal comprising a £3 million initial loan with a £27 million option to make the move permanent next summer, and Turner offered the imminent arrival some advice as Raya battles with Aaron Ramsdale for minutes.
“Work hard, it’s not going to be easy,” Turner said. “No matter how well you train, make the most of your opportunities, I guess, but Aaron’s a really great goalkeeper, but I guess also the culture.
“You need to understand the culture of being at Arsenal. You need to be able to push, but also support and I think that’s something that I did really well. I was pushing, but I was also there to support, not only Aaron but the best of the team.
“There’s no doubt that I pushed him every single day, he became a really solid goalkeeper last year. It felt like every time I played well in the Europa League or FA Cup he followed that up with two or three really good performances in the league.
“Every time I thought the door was a little bit cracked, he stepped his performances up on the pitch and I know I pushed him every day in training and I can hold that close to my heart and I’m happy to see him doing well and I’m hoping that he can stay between the sticks.”