Newcastle United's Freddie Woodman
It’s been quite a year for Freddie Woodman so far. Prior to the arrival of 2017, the 20-year-old goalkeeper had only made 12 senior appearances in professional football – all coming during a loan spell at Crawley Town last season.
Flash forward to the present day, however, and Woodman’s career appears to be progressing at a rate of knots. Not only has he confirmed his status as one of the nation’s most exciting young shot-stoppers thanks to a superb spell on loan at Kilmarnock, the youngster’s dramatic penalty save against Venezuela meant England were crowned champions at the FIFA Under-20 World Cup.
As such, with The Chronicle reporting that first-choice goalkeeper Karl Darlow is surprisingly surplus to requirements at Newcastle United, it appeared that the club had planned to fast-track Woodman into the first-team sooner rather than later.
Newcastle United could let Karl Darlow leave despite an excellent season
However, it appears that the Croydon-born youngster, who Newcastle tied down to a long-term contract last year amid interest from Liverpool and Tottenham, sees his short-term future elsewhere.
The Daily Record reports that Woodman is angling for a return to Kilmarnock last summer after making 13 league appearances between the sticks in the second half of 2016/17. And with Newcastle securing a return to the Premier League, it is understood that manager Rafael Benitez may grant his wish.
Newcastle know just how beneficial a spell north of the border can be for a young goalkeeper after Tim Krul returned from a season at Falkirk in 2008 before cementing his place as first-choice two years later.
The Magpies will be hoping Woodman follows in the Dutchman’s footsteps.
Newcastle's Tim Krul