The England Under-20s World Cup success was excellent for the country and suggested that the Three Lions may be set for a brighter future. One of the stars of the tournament was Freddie Woodman, who won the golden glove and saved a penalty in the final to keep his side in front. The goalkeeper is employed by Newcastle United, but he is yet to make his first-team debut for the club. After the match on Sunday, he was asked by the Telegraph about his short-term future:
“I am not sure what will happen at Newcastle,”
“I am just waiting for them to tell me when I am back in pre-season. I am a Newcastle player and my goal is to play for Newcastle one day.”
Although the paper has led with the headline that his future with the club is in doubt, these quotes show a player that is looking to establish himself at St James’ Park, rather than depart. The opening line reflects his own precarious squad status rather than him not being wanted by the club. Woodman is a 20-year-old goalkeeper, who currently has four players ahead of him when it comes to the first team. Last season, he finished the campaign on loan at Kilmarnock and it is normal that he is uncertain of his immediate future, but these quotes shouldn’t be taken as the youngster wanting to leave the club.
Woodman came to the North East when his father, Andy, was the goalkeeping coach at the club, but he has since departed. There were fears that the 20-year-old would also leave, but he signed a new four-year deal last summer after impressing Rafa Benitez. That deal shows the faith that Newcastle have in him and that the player himself is determined to make it with the Magpies. The second part of the quote reflects that, suggesting his only focus is to be successful with Newcastle.
What next for Freddie Woodman?
Newcastle United are aware of the talent that Woodman possesses and the Chronicle state that the club are calm about their current goalkeeping situation, as they know they have the youngster coming through the ranks. There is a belief that he can be the best in his position at the club and they will be cautious not to lose him like they did with Fraser Forster. The timing was never right for the current Southampton number one at St James’ Park and that is a disappointment after seeing him achieve success elsewhere.
For Woodman, another loan spell is likely and the club may choose to find him regular football in England, with a Championship loan possible. There will be a few hoping that he is given a chance at Newcastle, but he is only 20 years old, and that is very young for a keeper. Jordan Pickford was successful in the Premier League this season and people will be making comparisons between him and Woodman. Both starred at youth level and have been developed in the North East. However, Pickford was 22 at the beginning of the season, which is two years older than Woodman is now.
The youngster’s time will come as he has incredible ability and has a mentality that will take him far in the game. It takes a big personality to produce a match-winning penalty save in a World Cup final, even at youth level and Woodman did that. His career is certainly one to track, but it could be at least another 12-24 months until he is playing in the Premier League.
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