After a poor showing from me over the last two months or so I’ve finally got back into the swing of blogging, and I’m sure a few of you will be getting sick of me already.
For that reason this article will not be all my own work and I’ll be getting some input from one of Newcastle’s youngest talents.
The young talent that I’m talking about is Freddie Woodman – 14 year old Newcastle goalkeeper and son of the current goalkeeping coach at Newcastle. It seems that Rob Elliot wasn’t the only keeper that moved to Newcastle in the summer with Freddie making the move from Crystal Palace.
We signed Tim Krul at a young age, and hopefully we can nurture Freddie to be like Timmy. Freddie has already made his reserve debut at the age of 14, in a 3-1 win against York. That’s an astonishing achievement for somebody who has just begun their GSCE’s.
Freddie has also been called up to the Under 16’s England side and has lifted the Victory Shield in the past year, playing with lads who are mostly two years older than him. He’s really proving to be a great talent, and here are some of the questions I’ve asked him.
What team do you support?
West Ham United
Who are your closest friends in the squad?
Louis Storey, Alex Nicholson and Ben Sayer, great friends and players
Who is the joker of the squad?
Dennis Knight and Michael Riley, they’re always joking around having great banter.
Who are the under 16 players we should really look out for in the future?
Alex Gilliead. He’s got this talent of always scoring, he’s a great player.
Who’s your favourite player in the first team to watch?
Tim Krul. I love watching him! He’s done great this season and he’s surely one of the best in the Premier League at the moment.
What footballer do you model yourself on?
I’ve worked with Tim before and most coaches tell me I’m like him, and I would love to be like Tim so I watch him and try to work on the things he does in training.
What’s your favourite save you’ve ever made?
Well I can’t say I make many haha, but my debut for Newcastle this season against Man City I made three great saves and had a good game for my debut. After the game I was buzzing.
What’s the most memorable game you’ve played?
It’s got to be playing for the ressies. I only played 20 minutes but it was the best time I’ve had on the pitch playing with great players and playing well.
What’s the most memorable game you’ve watched?
West Ham beating Arsenal at the Emirates, it was great. West Ham needed the win as they were bottom of the league.
What is it like having your Dad as the goalkeeping coach for the team you play for? Does he give you a hard time?
To be fair he’s a great Dad when were at home and a great coach when we’re training. He treats me like a normal keeper but he has to have banter with me and it’s hard to get back at him.
How did it feel to make the move from Crystal Palace to Newcastle?
It was sad to leave Palace but moving to a massive club like Newcastle it was a no-brainer and I’m delighted I signed for the Toon, it’s a great place.
What was it like making your reserve team debut earlier this year?
Nervous! But very good, I enjoyed every moment of it I’m glad I got the opportunity by Pete and Willie and hopefully I can play for the reserves again soon.
How did it feel playing for England in the Victory Shield?
It was a great experience to be a part of England at my age. It was great loved every moment of it hopefully I will be in their plans soon and get my debut.
What do you do on a day to day basis in the academy?
We do education on a Monday, Wednesday and a Friday, that’s good, better than school. Training is class, the coaches are ex-pro’s and they have been in our situation so they talk about things that all of us take on. There is a lot of head tennis played. Hoops (JJ Hooper) thinks he’s the best but few of the lads will say no but it’s very competitive when any game is played.
How difficult is it to juggle school work and football?
Newcastle have been great by helping me fit in my school work with my training, Jimmy Nelson has been great sorted everything out and my tutors that come in from Walbottle Campus have been great and are helping in my education.
I asked Freddie to do this interview over Twitter and he was quick to say yes, he gave me his email and it was sorted within the hour. It’s great that players take time out to communicate with the fans, and I’d like to say thanks to Freddie as he was very helpful with this.
I only picked one problem out of this whole interview. Shame he’s a Hammer, but we can’t have everything. He seems a very down to earth young lad who is very keen to learn. The fact some people have compared him to Krul and he seems like he really wants to learn from him plus the fact he watches him in training can only be a good thing, and it could be an exciting future for him if he’s as good as Wor Timmy.
He seems modest, and doesn’t like to talk about his “good saves” which can only be a good thing for a young player trying to keep his feet on the ground. He was also very complimentary about the staff at Newcastle, including Peter Beardsley, Willie Donachie, Jimmy Nelson and even his own father, Andy Woodman.
I’m sure all the fathers out there will be happy to see a young’un struggling to match his Dad’s banter, come on Freddie, up your game.
Freddie has achieved a lot in his career so far for someone aged 14, with appearances in the Victory Shield and at Reserve level for Newcastle. They’re both something that he’s very proud of, and he deserves to be, they’re great achievements and they bode well for the future. His desire to keep stepping up and being a regular for the reserves and England is something that hopefully he can fulfil.
One of the most interesting things for me was seeing his schedule school work wise, at 14 he still has a lot of education to do and it must be tiring juggling three days of education, training and games. He highlights how good Newcastle have been with that which is good to see as it’s very important for developing youngsters in the future.
Once again, thanks to Freddie Woodman for completing this interview, you can thank him personally or just tweet him generally at @FreddieJWoodman.