Steve Bruce has praised Freddie Woodman following his successful loan stint away from St James’ Park – stating he’s doing “very, very well” at Swansea.
The England U-21 star has been tipped for big things at St James’ Park for some time now, but has been sent out on loan over the past few seasons, with both Dubravka and Darlow ahead of him in the pecking order.
He’s been brilliant at Swansea, keeping 11 clean sheets and saving several spot kicks, however we must make a decision on him sooner rather than later, with him an international player who’ll be keen to continue playing first-team football when he returns this summer.
Not only that, he’s about to enter the final 12 months of his contract, so that coupled with reports claiming Spurs, Arsenal and Everton are monitoring him show his future is in the balance if we don’t handle him correctly over the coming year.
Here’s what Bruce has had to say about him when assessing our current crop of goalkeepers:
“We’re very, very fortunate that we’ve got three or four good goalkeepers.
“The kid at Swansea – who we’re monitoring – is doing very, very well.
Reports in Wales claim Swansea have already explored the idea of keeping him for another season – with WalesOnline also suggesting recently that they’d love to sign him on a permanent deal.
With Elliot set to leave on a free this summer and Darlow’s future also uncertain given he’s managed ZERO league starts in over two years, we may be set for a reshuffle in this department – but I can’t see the sale of Woodman being in Bruce’s plans.
He has a long way to go before we could deem him capable of replacing the outstanding Martin Dubravka, but perhaps we could promote him to the first-team squad next season and make him next in line should the Slovakian get injured – or would what be a step backwards for a young talent who needs to be playing regularly?
Perhaps another loan spell in the second tier is what’s needed, but Woodman’s situation is one that must be handled correctly if we’re to keep a hold of one of our most talented young players in the coming years.