With a whirlwind of news and rumors surrounding Newcastle in the past couple of days, a bright one involves our coveted 20-year-old goalkeeper prospect, Freddie Woodman.
FA TV showed highlights of our U21 keeper practicing alongside Joe Hart (71 Caps), Tom Heaton (3 Caps), and Jack Butland (5 Caps) for England’s senior national team. Not only did he feature with the senior squad, he held his own, impressing viewers and hopefully the coaches. This opportunity came to Woodman because Jordan Pickford of Everton left the camp early due to an injury. With competition being very intense for the starting position, many thinking that Butland could overtake Hart, Woodman definitely did himself a service with giving a great first impression.
Martyn Margetson, a former goalie for Manchester City, was in charge of the smaller drills that featured only the goal keepers. Margetson also coaches the keepers at Crystal Palace after stints with West Ham, Cardiff City, and Wales’ international team. The highlights of the drills featuring the keepers are quite fun to watch. As a former keeper myself (not the greatest but serviceable), I wish I could’ve jumped in alongside them. There’s nothing like trying to score on your fellow keepers.
Margetson worked the keepers very hard. He trained them through various distances, setting properly prior to a shot or cross, and just being able to handle tough shots and rebounds if needed. The highlights really show just how difficult training as a keeper can be. Margetson made sure the tempo of play was that of an actual game... the quality of saves was awesome.
Apart from just training with the keepers, Woodman would face England’s top talent which is a great experience for him. It brings up another issue for Rafa Benitez before the deadline, the issue of goal keeping. Some might be fine with Rob Elliot as the starter while others are looking for Rafa to sign another keeper, hoping someone better than Matz Sels. But there are probably some of you out there who want to see the young Freddie Woodman get a chance with the first team.
The future of this young, exciting keeper is not set in stone, but one would hope we will see him make his debut in the Premier League with Newcastle United.
If you want to watch some highlights of the camp, click here.