A dramatic change in circumstances now seems to have given Freddie Woodman a chance in the Premier League with Newcastle United.
In two seasons at Swansea, the Welsh club missed the play-offs twice.
If they had been promoted in 2020/21, they would certainly have pushed hard to buy Freddie Woodman and then, if that failed, loaned another year, with Newcastle then having to weigh the advantage that the NUFC keeper had a year of experience in the Premier League has collected with the possibility of Swansea getting part of a relegation battle including the Magpies.
Instead, however, the now 24-year-old Freddie Woodman had taken off his medical treatment and was about to be loaned out for Championship Bournemouth for the 2021/22 season.
Just for one final U-turn almost two weeks ago when news broke that Martin Dubravka had a new foot injury and was about to undergo surgery to repair a broken metatarsus. This led to Newcastle United breaking off the loan deal at Bournemouth, at least temporarily.
Freddie Woodman had found himself in an odd position, a goalkeeper too good for the championship after making rapid progress but his path at NUFC was blocked by Dubravka.
Anyway, the opportunity Freddie Woodman may now knock on at Newcastle United. It looks like a clear pre-season battle between Woodman and Karl Darlow to start in goal for Newcastle when the Premier League kicks off.
After the operation, it turned out that realistically there was no chance that Martin Dubravka would recover in time for the start of the season, and then last weekend we received the message that Karl Darlow had self-isolated for 10 days after testing for Covid, with Freddie Woodman and Mark Gillespie also isolated himself as he had close contacts.
20-year-old Dan Langley stepped in to play in the first two first-team friendlies in the absence of the four first-team goalkeepers.
After the 3-2 win at Doncaster last night, Steve Bruce has now given another update on the goalkeeping situation:
“The goalkeeping situation should be a bit better [early this week].
“Of course we have a few of them who are self-isolating, who are fine [to resume training].
“[However] Karl Darlow is still not doing well.
“Unfortunately, he’s not doing so well with Covid at the moment.”
We hope that Karl Darlow will make a full recovery quickly and really bad luck for him as I suspect he would have been Bruce’s first choice to take Dubravka’s place again.
What it does mean, however, is that earlier this week with Dubravka and Darlow both ruled out, the way is clear for Freddie Woodman to resume training and play in the remaining friendlies of August.
Mark Gillespie will no doubt have a few minutes on the pitch in one or more of the last three friendlies as well, but I think Freddie Woodman would definitely overtake the Geordie goalkeeper in a head-to-head fight when it comes to the Premier League kick-off.
Given the type of Dubravka’s injury and Darlow’s apparently bad case of the virus, these are two things that recovery time could be significant.
We hope they both get back quickly but we hope now to see Freddie Woodman’s potential unleashed and shown in the Premier League.