It was a massive day for Arsenal FC players at the World Cup on Monday when Group B play commenced. Bukayo Saka bagged a brace for England, the only Three Lions player to score twice as they routed Iran 6-2. Later on, Matt Turner, Arsenal’s No. 2 made his World Cup debut as the United States Men’s National Team’s No. 1.
Turner’s first touch against Wales came in the 5′.
The time has come.
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? Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium
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— U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team (@USMNT) November 21, 2022
“I’m very excited, it’s a dream come true for me,” Turner said before the match.
“To go from being a supporter of US Soccer to actually being on the TV raising the trophy… It’s just a crazy story.”
Turner didn’t even start playing the game until he was 16. He had made the journey from being an undrafted free agent to playing for Arsenal, one of the world’s biggest clubs, and starting in goal for the United States of America. Big things are ahead for him, for both club and country.
Getting back to Bukayo Saka, what a very special journey it has been for him as well. It was almost 500 days ago, he suffered racial abuse online (along with Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford) for missing a penalty kick in the shootout at the 2020 European championship (staged in 2021, because of covid) final match. Saka is, was and always has been a very likable guy, and someone to root for.
Bukayo Saka has helped fund surgery for 120 children in Nigeria, the country where his parents hail from. Like Rashford, he’s a good buy both on and off the pitch.
Paul M. Banks is the owner/manager of The Bank (TheSportsBank.Net) and author of “Transatlantic Passage: How the English Premier League Redefined Soccer in America,” as well as “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry.”Follow paulmbanks