WHEN Marco Matias unleashed ‘that’ volley at Elland Road a week ago, Michael Turner could not help but be impressed.
The 31-year-old defender had tuned in specifically to watch Sheffield Wednesday after being made aware of the Yorkshire club’s interest 48 or so hours earlier.
Norwich City defender Turner had been hoping to get a few pointers on a group of players he was keen to join in the near future but, understandably, it was Matias’s spectacular first strike in English football that remains his abiding memory. And he is the first to admit to feeling for Liam Cooper, the Leeds defender left bamboozled by the Portuguese’s trickery.
“I don’t think I’d have been able to stop him score that one,” laughed Turner when The Yorkshire Post asked if he was looking forward to facing Matias in training now firmly on board at Hillsborough.
“What a strike. Very, very special and one that has rightly been praised a lot over the past week.
“I’ll admit I didn’t know too much about him but a goal like that certainly announces you in England.”
Hoping that Turner, a centre-half, can make a similar impact in an Owls shirt to that made by Matias is asking a lot.
But, as any Hull City fan will surely attest, Wednesday have signed a thoroughbred of a defender.
Signed by then manager Phil Parkinson for a bargain £350,000 in the summer of 2006, Turner went on to become a mainstay of the Tigers side that made history by bringing top-flight football to Kingston-upon-Hull for the first time.
Once in the Premier League, Turner played every minute of the 2008-09 season that ended with the Tigers staying up and Phil Brown unwisely taking to the microphone on the KC pitch.
Turner was sold the following August as the increasingly troublesome finances at Hull meant a £4m bid from Sunderland could not be turned down.
Since then, Turner has spent five more seasons in the top flight with a return to the Championship only coming a year ago following Norwich City’s relegation.
Things did not pan out as the Londoner hoped, even though the Canaries did bounce back at the first attempt. A change of manager in January saw Turner drop out of favour and he ended the campaign on loan at Fulham.
Now, though, he is back in Yorkshire and looking forward to helping realise the ambitions of owner Dejphon Chansiri.
“The interest had been going on for about a week so it was good to finally get the deal done,” he said of a move that went through on Thursday.
“When I heard last week that Wednesday were in for me, my ears pricked up. So, when the chance came to come up and have a chat with the owners, I jumped at it.
“We met early this week and the owner made it clear just how ambitious he is for the club. Those ambitions matched my own, in terms of where I want to be at this stage in my career.
“I also had a look around the stadium. I’d obviously played here as well so knew all about the atmosphere that the fans can generate. It is why I was delighted to sign.
“There is a real sense of optimism around the club. There is a new owner, a new manager and everyone at the club is genuinely ambitious.
“Sheffield Wednesday want to be back in the Premier League, that much is obvious.”
Turner is unlikely to start today against Boro, head coach Carlos Carvalhal making it clear that the new arrival only having had two training sessions would make throwing the former Tigers defender straight in a risk.
The loanee, however, is eagerly looking forward to playing regularly again. “Last season was tough for me,” he said, “mainly because I had a difficult time in the second half of it. The new manager came in and I didn’t play very much. I had to go out on loan to Fulham. But now this is a fresh start and I am really looking forward to it.
“This is a big club and I was impressed by what I saw last weekend in the Leeds game.
“Wednesday had come in for me so I watched and it was a typical Championship game, not much in it and not too many chances due to it being a derby.
“A lot of Championship games are like that, in that there wasn’t much between the two teams.
“The Championship is as tough as ever. I had two years there with Hull so knew what to expect last season. I know how tough and relentless the division can be. You have to be tough to cope with the schedule”
A repeat at S6 of the promotion he achieved at Hull would do very nicely. “I very much enjoyed my three years in Yorkshire. It was a period that really took my career forward,” he said.