Goalkeeper enjoying season to remember for club and country
Wanderers goalkeeper Jake Turner is refusing to rest on his laurels following a whirlwind campaign so far at Macron Stadium.
A regular for the Whites' Under-18s and Under-21s sides, an injury to Mark Howard back in November saw the 17-year-old thrust into the Bolton first team squad as cover for Ben Alnwick.
Handed his England Under-18s debut around the same time against France, it has certainly proven to be a season to remember for the young shot-stopper.
"To achieve what I have in just three years as a goalkeeper, it’s what I’ve always dreamt of," Turner said in an exclusive maiden interview with bwfc.co.uk. "It’s all happened so quickly, it’s amazing.
"I used to play as a striker but over time decided to switch and play in goal. I’ve always been the biggest in the class at school and I’m one of the biggest here. It helps!
"I just work hard in training and thankfully it’s paid off. It was unreal [to get the England call-up]. To pull on the jersey and to make my debut was the best feeling ever.
"To keep a clean sheet for my country too, there’s not much more you can ask for."
Turner continued: "I got my chance at Under-18s because Will [Jaaskelainen] was injured, and then got a few opportunities with the Under-21s because of other injuries there.
"Now I’m on the bench for the first team and I’m being pushed on, but I feel that I am ready so it’s going well.
"The lads have all been really welcoming. Working with Ben, Mark and Lee Butler is really good. I’ve got a good relationship with all three of them.
"The tempo is so much quicker than Under-23s and Under-18s football so it’s great to be in this environment."
Having progressed through the Bolton youth ranks alongside Jaaskelainen junior, Turner is one of a number of youth team graduates to have been promoted to Bolton's first team in recent seasons.
Like Will, the shot-stopper also comes from a footballing family with sister Millie currently impressing for club and country following her recent move to Bristol City.
And with both relationships having helped shape his path to the first team, Turner is keeping his feet on the ground when thoughts drift to a potential senior debut.
"I’ve been close with Will since I joined really. He’s been one of my best mates for the duration of my time here. He’s a really good lad and a good keeper as well.
"My sister’s doing alright too. She’s with England as well and it’s great to have it in the family.
"We played together in the garden when we were kids. We ended up actually getting an AstroTurf so we could play for longer outside!"
Turner concluded: "David [Lee] and Nicky [Spooner] are great coaches and they work everyone hard throughout the week.
"That hard work is shown in the games and by the number of players that have been given a chance in the first team.
“I’m now going to keep working hard and see how it goes. I’m always preparing for it and working towards making my debut. You never know, maybe one day soon the call could come."
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