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Opinion

Newcastle United goalkeeper conundrum

2 weeks ago
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As another season comes to a close and thoughts begin to turn to the 2021-22 season, there is one area of the squad which remains very strong, with the Newcastle United goalkeeper department once again looking particularly well stocked.

If Steve Bruce remains in charge, and all the current evidence suggests he will, then he will find himself in the same position that Alan Pardew found himself in back in 2011, with three excellent goalkeepers to choose from and a difficult decision to make.

In Pardew’s case he had to choose between the dependable Steve Harper and the young fledgling talents of Tim Krul and Fraser Forster.

Pardew eventually plumped for Krul, with the Dutchman a fixture in the side for the next four seasons.

Bruce’s situation is slightly more straightforward in that it appears he has a clear number one in Martin Dubravka.

However, that doesn’t mean it is going to be a problem with an easy solution, with Karl Darlow and Mark Gillespie already on the books and the very promising Freddie Woodman scheduled to return from a loan deal with Swansea in the summer.

So what does Bruce do?

Well with Dubravka now established once more as number one after ousting Karl Darlow from the position, it would be a big surprise if the status quo wasn’t maintained at the beginning of next season.

However, Darlow is very unlikely to settle for another season playing second fiddle following his impressive form in the first half of the season. In a rare show of foresight from the club they tied Darlow down to a new five year contract at the beginning of the season, protecting his value.

With transfer funds likely to be tight once again, there are likely to be suitors for Darlow’s services and Bruce and the club might well be tempted to cash in.

Woodman is set to return to St James Park after two years with Swansea. Given how much experience he has gained during his time in Wales, Freddie Woodman is unlikely to want to settle for a season on the bench playing understudy to Dubravka.

Another season on loan would be the ideal scenario for Woodman and with Swansea heading for the play-offs it’s not beyond the realms of possibility that he could be plying his trade in the Premier League next season. One more season of experience under his belt and he would be ready to mount a real challenge to Dubravka for the number one position.

That decision should be easier with Mark Gillespie on the books. Although he has only played three games for the club this season, all in the League Cup, he could serve as deputy for the dependable Dubravka next season.

The club also has the 6ft 7 inch Dan Langley on the books with the 20 year old impressing for the club’s under 23 side this season.

Whatever the club does decide, at least there is one area of the pitch which Newcastle United fans won’t have to worry about for the foreseeable future.

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