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By Martin Graham | 25th Nov 2022
USA goalkeeper Matt Turner has praised his Arsenal teammate Bukayo Saka while warning his USMNT teammates about the threat he carries.
Saka scored two goals in England’s 6 – 2 rout of Iran on Monday, while putting in a monstrous shift to claim the man of the match award in his first World Cup game ever. Praise came from all angles, with Arsenal legend Ian Wright declaring him to be “blessed with glorious purpose.”
Turner, who shares a dressing room with the 21-year-old at Arsenal, also heaped praise on his teammate, who has put in a great shift in the Premier League this season to help Arsenal hold on to top spot.
Then he put international affiliations ahead of club affiliations by stating that USMNT do everything they can to stop his onslaught when they meet on Friday.
“I think it’s pretty clear. He’s one of the young stars of world football,” Turner said about Saka. “He’s a top, top player and I think you don’t need me to tell anybody on our team how much of a threat that he poses in the game.
“He’s scoring goals in a variety of ways. He’s really developed, mature. He’s gotten stronger from what I understand. I’ve only worked with him for a few months. I’m looking forward to playing against familiar faces. I think he’s a really, really good player that can change any game that he takes part in.”
Turner then spoke about the mood of the USMNT camp after their 1 – 1 draw with Wales and what he hopes they would be able to correct when they face off against their long time rivals, England.
“I think one of the main things for us is we missed some opportunities in transition against Wales in the second half,” he said. “I think we had chances where we just weren’t particularly clean in the final third.
“Maybe a pass was a little off or the timing was wrong and it took away the small windows that you have in the World Cup where the margins are so thin to score goals.
“So I think we know that we’re going to have to be better in transition against England if we want to score goals.”
USMNT men Yunus Musah and Cameron Carter-Vickers also spoke about their excitement going into the game. Both players have ties to England, with Musah even playing in England’s youth teams.
“It’s a special game for sure cause I played on both sides,” said Musah. “To be able to be on the same pitch as the national team I used to play with is special.”
Carter-Vickers said there will be divided loyalties in his household when the two teams take the field on Friday.
“With my family, half want us to win and half want England to win,” he said. “I’m not too sure how I’m going to feel when game comes around, but I do know that I’ll be doing anything I can to try and help the team win.”