People often refer to having too much choice as a nice problem. The one I’m about to debate may be one of those, but it’s definitely not going to be an easy one. I refer of course to the goalkeeping situation and the return to The Toon of Freddie Woodman.
This has been further complicated by the on-loan stopper being awarded the Championship’s Golden Glove Award for 2020/21 after achieving 20 clean sheets this season – his second on loan at Swansea City, who are desperate to sign him but hopefully can’t afford him.
I feel that Woodman will not be short of suitors and a lot will depend on the player himself. As much as Karl Darlow did fabulously for us this season and Marc Gillespie is a solid backup, Woodman I believe is already better than both.
As much as it would be nice to have all on our books, I don’t see a situation where Newcastle are able to keep all three of Dubravka, Darlow and Woodman. All have proven they are too capable to be sat on the bench, leaving Bruce with a few big decisions to make this summer – especially when Woodman has been attracting interest from Arsenal by all accounts.
For me, Woodman has to start next season as #2 to Dubravka at the very least. However, I’m not so sure he’s going to be willing to accept that unless he perhaps casts an eye in the direction of Old Trafford where Dean Henderson took that chance and is now Man Ut’s #1.
It will be hard for Woodman to force his way past Dubravka and goodness knows I’d hate to see Big Dubs get injured again, but there lies Woodman’s chance/choice. If he were #2 and it did happen he’d get a chance on the big stage and I for one would back him to take it and not look back.
Almost unbelievably Woodman has been at The Toon since 2014. He actually made his first team debut over three years agon on 06/01/2018 in the 3 – 1 FA Cup win over Luton and then played three times in the League Cup in the 2018/19 season before popping off on loan again.
Remember too that he’s played for England at all levels up to Under-21. Being part of the Under-17 team that won the 2014 European Championship and was the Golden Glove Winner when England Under-20’a won the World Cup in 2017 saving a penalty in the 1 – 0 win over Venezuela in the final.
After the two seasons he’s had at Swansea and at the age of 24 it’s difficult to see him going out on loan again anywhere which leads me to the feeling that he’ll probably leave unless he’s willing to have perhaps a year as Dubravka’s #2?
It might be a nice problem to have for the current or possibly incoming Manager but I’ll tell you this it actually feels like a no-win situation that I’m pleased is not my decision.