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Opinion

Freddie Woodman now clear favourite to start season in goal for Newcastle United

2 months ago
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A dramatic change in circumstances now looks to have presented the opportunity for Freddie Woodman with Newcastle United in the Premier League.

Two seasons on loan at Swansea saw the Welsh club twice miss out in the play-offs.

If they had got promoted in 2020/21 then they would surely have pushed strongly to buy Freddie Woodman and then failing that, another year on loan, with Newcastle then having to balance the benefit of the NUFC keeper getting a year’s experience in the Premier League with the possibility of Swansea part of a relegation battle including the Magpies.

However, instead the now 24 year old Freddie Woodman had taken his medical and was just about to sign on loan for the 2021/22 season for Championship Bournemouth.

Only for a last minute u-turn just under two weeks ago, with news breaking that Martin Dubravka has a new foot injury and was set for surgery to fix a broken metatarsal. This leading to Newcastle United at least temporarily calling off the loan deal to Bournemouth.

Freddie Woodman had found himself in a strange position, a goalkeeper too good for the Championship after making rapid progress but his way blocked at NUFC by Dubravka.

Anyway, opportunity potentially knocking for Freddie Woodman now at Newcastle United. With it looking like a clear pre-season fight between Woodman and Karl Darlow to start in goal for Newcastle when the Premier League kicks off.

After surgery it has become apparent that there is realistically zero chance of Martin Dubravka recovering in time for the start of the season and then last weekend we got the news that Karl Darlow was self isolating for 10 days after testing for Covid, with Freddie Woodman and Mark Gillespie also self isolating due to having been close contacts.

The 20 year old Dan Langley has stepped in to play in the first two first team friendlies in the absence of the four first team squad keepers.

After last night’s 3-2 win at Doncaster, Steve Bruce has now given yet another update on the goalkeeping situation:

“The goalkeeping situation should be a little bit better [early this week].

“Certainly, we have got a couple of them who are self isolating who will be ok [to resume training].

“[However] Karl Darlow is still not very well.

“He’s not great at all, unfortunately, with Covid at the moment.”

Here’s hoping Karl Darlow makes a swift full recovery and really bad luck for him, as I would guess he’d have been Bruce’s first choice to take Dubravka’s place once again.

What it does though mean is that early this week, with Dubravka and Darlow both ruled out, the way is clear for Freddie Woodman to resume training and play in the remaining friendlies, now clear favourite to start in the team against West Ham on Sunday 15 August.

Mark Gillespie will no doubt also get some minutes on the pitch in one or more of the last three friendlies, but I think Freddie Woodman would definitely get the nod over the Geordie keeper in a straight contest between the pair of them, when it comes to the Premier League kicking off.

With the nature of Dubravka’s injury and Darlow apparently having a bad case of the virus, they are two things where the recovery time could be significant.

Here’s hoping they are both back quickly but also, here’s hoping that we will now see the potential of Freddie Woodman unleashed and shown in the Premier League.

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