Freddie Woodman got a taste of first-team football last season and he wants to sample it again. According to the Chronicle, the highly-rated young goalkeeper is determined to fight Rob Elliot for the number one jersey at Newcastle United after being denied the chance to leave on loan this summer.
Woodman had only made a smattering of first-team appearances until January of this year when he moved to Scottish Premiership side Kilmarnock on a temporary deal.
And that move looks to have kick-started a promising career with Woodman starring between the sticks at Rugby Park before earning more widespread acclaim for his famous penalty save to inspire England to victory in the final of the Under-20 World Cup this summer.
Unsurprisingly, the 20-year-old goalkeeper is keen to enhance his experience of senior first-team football rather than dropping back to play with the academy once again.
“I want to fight for the number 1 spot,” The Croydon-born talent said in quotes reported by The Chronicle. “I don’t want to see staying here after deadline day as a backward step I see it as an opportunity.
“I am gutted that I didn’t go out on loan, I wanted to get out and play games. For me personally, though, I need to keep fighting and keep on it.
“It’s brilliant to have had the backing of Rafa Benitez and be wanted in the first team squad. Although I know I have to keep working and I don’t want to just sit here and accept that I am number three.”
The problem hanging over Newcastle’s head, however, is the fact that there is no shortage of interest in Woodman. The report adds that Tottenham, Everton and Crystal Palace are all tracking his progress.
And with Palace searching for a ‘keeper to replace the inconsistent Wayne Hennessey between the sticks, you wonder whether his lack of game-time at Newcastle so far may convince the ‘keeper that a return to the capital city would be the best possible step for his development.
Woodman is fighting a very difficult battle to be Newcastle’s number one and, if he is not given a chance between now and January, who could blame him for considering his future? Especially if Palace promise to make him their first-choice option sooner rather than later.