Following an outstanding debut season with Wolves, goalkeeper Shan Turner has won her first senior international call-up to be named in the Northern Ireland squad for next month’s Women’s Euro 2022, writes TONY LEIGHTON.
Six years after representing her country at Under-19 level but just 10 months after joining Wolves from Boldmere St Michaels, former Birmingham City and Coventry United player Turner is set to be part of the biggest Euros in the tournament’s history as England prepares to host the Uefa event.
Northern Ireland manager Kenny Shiels told the 24-year-old of her selection in a Sunday night telephone call and Turner admits: “It was a complete shock, but at the same time exciting, joyful, so emotional in every way.
“I’d been on a two-week training camp in Belfast with the squad after the end of Wolves’ season, but it was a surprise to be called up for that – in fact I was on holiday when I got the call inviting me to go on the camp.
“After not being involved at international level for so long the whole thing has been a bit surreal and I’m still finding it hard to take in that I’m going to the Euros. But it’s absolutely massive for me and I’m so looking forward to it.”
Solihull born and bred Turner, who qualifies for Northern Ireland through her grandparents, may have been surprised at her call-up; but not so Wolves manager Dan McNamara, who stated on signing her last August: “I definitely feel Shan can progress her career towards getting into the Northern Ireland squad.”
She has achieved that after a season that saw her named the National League Northern Premier Division’s Goalkeeper of the Year, with 15 clean sheets and only 16 goals conceded as Wolves won the division before missing out on promotion through a play-off defeat by Southern Division winners Southampton.
“I’m absolutely delighted for Shan,” says McNamara. “She’s deserved her call-up after a fantastic season. She’s got such a great presence, she’s a brilliant shot stopper and her improved footwork has made her the complete goalkeeper.”
Turner, who works as a Schools Educator for The Wolves Foundation, has resurrected her international career after slipping at club level from England’s top tier to the fourth before joining the club. “At one point I lost my enjoyment in football,” she admits, “but coming to Wolves changed everything.
“The coaching staff, the group of girls I’m playing with, the fantastic facilities, everything about the club has given me such a boost and now I’m about to have the most exciting few weeks of my career. It’s unbelievable.”