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Opinion

Dummies guide to man management – Freddie Woodman

3 days ago
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I’m an admirer of Freddie Woodman and have been so for a long time.

This young man is the only current player who has won some sort of silverware while at our club (u-17 with England).

He’s also one of the brightest young keepers in the country in my opinion and would only get better.

Freddie Woodman had been on loan at Swansea for two years and his highlight was helping them to the EFL play-off final last season (and being awarded the Golden Glove for most clean sheets in the Championship), which they lost to former Newcastle man Ivan Toney’s Brentford.

Hoping to make his mark in Premier League football, no one could have predicted what was to follow.

At the start of this season, with Dubravka out injured (following a horrendous Euro tournament) and Darlow struggling with COVID, Freddie found himself in the team as the first choice goalie.

At the end of matchday three in the Premier League he had conceded eight goals – four against West Ham, then two each against Villa and Southampton. In at least two of those games, those goals cost us dearly, as we surrendered leads through them.

Quite a traumatic introduction for a young goalkeeper and one would imagine the coaching staff would be considering ways to protect the young star. On Saturday I looked at the team sheet and saw Freddie Woodman starting against Ronaldo.

The story of the game was pretty clear to me.

The occasion got to Woodman and he had his first truly poor game of the season. His error led to the first goal, his immaturity showed in the second, whilst he seemed undecided on whether to dive or stay rooted for the third. At that point it was clear his confidence was gone.

The suggestion here is that, hopefully, Freddie Woodman will be taken out of the firing line without being thrown under the bus in private or press.

Karl Darlow is now fit and surely it must be common sense that he takes the reins in goal in this struggling team for now. The next three fixtures see us up against Leeds, Watford, and Wolves (18 goals between them). This should be the perfect opportunity to ease Woodman out of the team, perhaps giving him a start against Watford, and a break in the other two matches. I even wonder what is left of Darlow’s own confidence, having been scapegoated when he started leaking crucial goals as well last year.

It would be interesting to see which direction our renowned man manager would go with this one, having already made one expert decision in fielding Freddie Woodman against Manchester United.

Hopefully, one of those “other strengths” Callum Wilson attributed to Steve Bruce will be seen in this situation.

I’ll keep an eye out for updates but don’t expect too much when it comes to man management and the Newcastle United Head Coach doing the right thing.

Howay the lads.

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