Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Football: Ross Delighted to Play a Role

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Football: Ross Delighted to Play a Role

Article excerpt

MIDDLESBROUGH goalkeeper Ross Turnbull will be eternally grateful to Gareth Southgate for keeping his word this summer.

The 23-year-old will head for Wigan today living the dream after being given the chance to find his feet in the Premier League.

Southgate put his faith in Bishop Auckland- born Turnbull and 26-year-old Australian Brad Jones at the end of last season when he decided not to replace the experienced Mark Schwarzer after his move to Fulham.

Turnbull admitted there were times during the close-season when he wondered if his manager had changed his mind, but is delighted he stuck to his guns.

He said: "I was getting a lot of phone calls saying, 'This is in the paper', but the manager said he wasn't going to sign anyone and that was good enough for me.

"Everybody kept ringing me, but he has kept his faith in us and it's only good for me and Brad. It is pretty special. It is what I dreamt about doing when I was a young lad, so it's pretty special.

"Week in, week out, you are playing against the best players in the world in front of 30,000."

Turnbull, another graduate of Boro's highly-rated academy, has been on the club's books for a decade, but has had to remain patient as he waited for his opportunity.

Schwarzer's longevity - he spent more than 11 years on Teesside - meant his deputies had few chances to make their mark with Turnbull having made only six senior appearances before the start of the current campaign.

With outfield players such as Stewart Downing, David Wheater and Lee Cattermole - who is fighting to be fit for the opposition today - having emerged from the ranks in recent seasons, Turnbull and Jones have had to bide their time.

Indeed, the younger man has had loan spells at Darlington, Barnsley, Bradford, Crewe and Cardiff to get valuable first-team football under his belt.

Turnbull said: "Mark (Schwarzer) was here a long time, but he helped me more than anything. …

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