Freddie Woodman has questioned Rafa Benitez’s decision to let record breaking striker Ivan Toney leave Tyneside for just £650,000 back in 2018.
The NUFC stopper – who conceded to Toney in Saturday’s play-off final at Wembley – insists the former Mag always looked “very good” during their time together on Tyneside, with both playing in the same U23 side just a few years ago.
The Brentford hitman has been electric ever since he dropped down the divisions to seek first-team football, making his name at Peterborough before firing The Bees into the Premier League in his debut season.
He bagged 31 goals in the regular Championship season – the most in a single campaign since the league’s rebranding in 2004 – and has attracted a host of interest from other top flight clubs.
Fees in the region of £30m are a far cry away from the pittance that Rafa Benitez sold him for less than three years ago, but Woodman, who has enjoyed his own fine spell on loan at Swansea, claims he always knew Toney had the talent.
Here is what he told The Times following their play-off final defeat to Brentford:
“I know Ivan, we both played at Newcastle together.
“He’s a fantastic striker.
“I knew he was very good back then when we were playing in the under 23s.
“You look at him now and you really wonder how Newcastle managed to let him go.
“He’s had a brilliant season.”
Despite everything Rafa achieved on Tyneside, the one black stain on his resume here has to be the handling of Toney.
It baffles me how he was never granted a chance when the players ahead of him at the time were Joselu, Dwight Gayle and Aleksandr Mitrovic. Mind you, that’s easy to say in hindsight, and perhaps he was absolutely nothing like the player he is today back then!
While Newcastle can hold their hands up and admit their colossal failure with Toney, they now have a monumental decision to make with Woodman this summer.
The 24-year old has been on loan at Swansea for two years now and cemented himself as their first choice goalkeeper in the process.
With Martin Dubravka ahead of him in the pecking order and our clear No.1, does he come back this summer to sit on the bench, secure another loan move or be sold to help us fund a move for Joe Willock?