The Newcastle United supporters have been waiting for young goalkeeper Freddie Woodman to make his real first team breakthrough for what feels like an eternity.
And while that won’t be happening in the short term – he’s on loan at Championship side Swansea City for the season, after all – it’s beginning to feel like its only a matter of time before the England Under-21 international takes the number one shirt at St James’ Park.
However, he hasn’t always been happy, which has led to concerns that one of the finest products to come through the Newcastle academy in recent years may opt to leave the club.
The Chronicle reported last summer that the 22-year-old was beginning to grow frustrated with his lack of first team opportunities on Tyneside, with Arsenal and Liverpool monitoring his situation as a result.
However, the youngster has now dismissed the prospect of him leaving the Magpies, telling the same publication on Wednesday: “It’s always my aim [to follow Sean Longstaff into the first team]. It is absolutely brilliant for Sean to be in there now.”
Clearly Woodman is confirming that he wants to stay at Newcastle, news that will surely have the club’s supporters loving life. Things have been hairy with the ‘keeper for the past couple of years, but he’s clearly now in a much better place.
That’s a good thing, too, because he is a tremendous prospect. As per WhoScored.com, Woodman is averaging three saves per game at Swansea this campaign, with a whopping 1.9 of them coming from inside the penalty box. He is clearly having to deal with regular attempts on his goal in Wales, and has responded to the challenge in exemplary fashion.
Martin Dubravka can’t go on forever, and so Newcastle need a contingency plan. That contingency plan has been staring them in the face for years. The club should be thankful that they haven’t alienated him to the point where he’s wanted to leave. Luckily, that hasn’t happened yet.