Should Newcastle put their faith in teen 'keeper Freddie Woodman?

Newcastle Utd - Gate

Steve McClaren must decide whether to look towards the youngster for cover or apply for an emergency loan.

Despite playing only 11 senior games on loan at League Two side Crawley Town, the loss of three senior goalkeepers means that 18-year-old Woodman is currently set to make his Premier League debut against Bournemouth this weekend.

The outcome of the contest between two relegation rivals could be crucial come May and the Chronicle reports that boss McClaren is awaiting permission from the Premier League to move for Manchester United stopper Victor Valdes.

World Cup winner Valdes has fallen out of favour at Old Trafford after refusing to play for the under-21 side last season but would come to Tyneside with wealth of top level experience on his side.

The emergency loan rule is sparingly used in England’s top league but without Tim Krul, Karl Darlow or Rob Elliot available for Saturday’s trip, permission is likely to be granted for the North-East club.

Newcastle now risk sending the wrong message to both Woodman and similar reserve players who may feel they are ready to step up when called upon, should they sign Valdes.

The Magpies have manufactured a production line of outstanding goalkeepers in recent memory and many within the club have tipped Woodman to be the natural successor to Tim Krul when the time comes.

Krul made his senior debut in a similar fashion as an 18-year-old after injuries to Shay Given and Steve Harper saw him thrown in against Palermo in the UEFA Cup in 2006. Newcastle went on to win the game 1-0 in Italy, with the Dutchman making several outstanding saves.

Ultimately, Steve McClaren must decide whether to hedge his bets on a short-term gain with Valdes or give Woodman the chance to make a name for himself in the long-run.

The England Under-19 has been at St. James’ Park since 2013 and his familiarity with both McClaren’s tactics and first-team squad could see him get the nod over the unacquainted Valdes.

Whatever the outcome, taking three points on Saturday will put to bed any worries that fans may have over Newcastle’s goalkeeping crisis. Anything less and fans will be questioning the clubs’ decision-making for a long time to come.

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