This article is part of Football FanCast’s Loan Watch series, which takes a closer look at those players who are aiming to galvanise their careers away from the spotlight of their parent club.
Newcastle may look settled in the goalkeeping department with Martin Dubravka recently extending his contract until 2025, but the form of Freddie Woodman surely won’t be going unnoticed.
The 22-year-old has been reunited with his former England U17s manager Steve Cooper (with whom he won the U17 World Cup in 2017) on loan at Swansea, and so far he has made all the right steps.
Swansea started the season brightly and although their form has tailed off a little, Woodman can still boast five clean sheets in 16 games, with only 16 goals conceded in that period.
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He has also averaged three saves and seven successful long passes per match, which shows he is accomplished in multiple areas, and that will be important if he is to make the step up to the Premier League.
Becoming Newcastle first-choice always looked like a possible outcome for Woodman. His World Cup win shows he was not only capable from a young age but also highly-rated, and it seems as though he has continued his path of progression.
Another factor that will be crucial to him breaking through is his temperament, but both his attitude and character have been praised in the past, so soon the next step may be convincing Steve Bruce that he deserves a chance.
Currently, it is difficult to envisage Dubravka being dropped despite fans criticising him for a howler against Wolves, but 29-year-old Karl Darlow hasn’t made a significant impression at the club – playing 60 times in more than five years – so there is a realistic possibility that Woodman could overtake him in the pecking order.
That could depend on how he performs for the rest of the season, but with Cooper keen to keep him at the club it is clear that he is doing well. If he learns and builds his understanding he will come back a better goalkeeper, ready to challenge Dubravka.