FRED­DIE TO RUM­BLE

Wood­man tells how Craw­ley loan has pre­pared him for New­cas­tle re­turn

The Football League Paper - - NEWS - By Nick Lough

HE MAY have re­turned to New­cas­tle United, but rookie keeper Fred­die Wood-man will never for­get his loan spell at Craw­ley Town – and would love to go back one day.

Just 12 games into his loan stint, the 18-year-old got the call from Mag­pies boss Steve McClaren to fly back to the nest af­ter United num­ber one Tim Krul in­jured his an­te­rior cru­ci­ate lig­a­ment on in­ter­na­tional duty

Gut­ted

The England U19 keeper told The FLP: “Tim is one of my best friends and men­tors so I was dev­as­tated for him and I know it’s a se­ri­ous in­jury.

“I got a call from my agent straight­away and he said ‘You’re go­ing to be called back now’, but I was gut­ted to leave Craw­ley as I was meant to be there un­til Jan­uary and would have liked to play a few more games.”

Wood­man was breach­ing the gap be­tween ju­nior and se­nior foot­ball as he lined up against Ox­ford United on open­ing day.

“This divi­sion is a lot more se­ri­ous,” he said. “As soon as I played the game at Ox­ford for my league de­but I re­alised this is re­ally where the money gets made.

“The fans wanted to win so badly and they de­manded good per­for­mances from you.My whole life I have trained like the un­der­dog, played as the num­ber two, but when I get on the field I play like there’s no­body else but me.”

Be­com­ing the youngest firstchoice goal­keeper in League Two by some way gifted Wood­man the chance to at­tain vi­tal ex­pe­ri­ence. Af­ter be­ing brought back to St James’ Park to act as back-up to ex-Charl­ton shot-stop­per Rob El­liot, he feels his three months with the Red Devils has helped him more than any spell in the re­serves could. He said: “I def­i­nitely feel like more of a man now. More peo­ple take you se­ri­ously if you have games un­der your belt in the League; you can play as many U21 games as you want but they don’t re­ally count. Play­ers are scared to go out on loan be­cause they are wor­ried they are go­ing to get found out. It’s that tough and that de­mand­ing it could break you.

Scared

“I have mo­ti­va­tion any­way but while the fa­cil­i­ties down there weren’t great and at New­cas­tle they are won­der­ful, it’s given me that drive to say I want to be play­ing most of my ca­reer in the Pre­mier League.”

Goal­keep­ing runs in the Wood­man fam­ily given his fa­ther Andy made over 300 ca­reer ap­pear­ances in the Foot­ball League. They were to­gether at New­cas­tle as Andy was the club’s goal­keep­ing coach be­fore link­ing up with ex-Toon boss Alan Pardew at Crys­tal Palace.

“I speak to Dad on a daily ba­sis about my game,” he said. “He watches all my clips and comes to a lot of my games. I am where I am now be­cause of what he has taught me.

“He told me to al­ways go out there and be­lieve in my­self, and if you can give off an aura and a con­fi­dence you can go out and play like you’re the best goal­keeper in the world.”

Af­ter be­ing named on the bench for New­cas­tle’s 6-2 vic­tory over Nor­wich last Sun­day, it looks like Wood­man will be act­ing as the Mag­pies’ num­ber two for the time be­ing. How­ever, there is only one place the goal­keeper would like to be if the op­por­tu­nity arises.

“I had goals and tar­gets but be­ing called back has tipped it all on its head, but I have to adapt and keep work­ing hard on all the lit­tle things that are go­ing to make me a bet­ter goal­keeper,” he said.

“If the chance comes and I make my de­but for New­cas­tle or go back on loan then I’ll take either of them with both hands.

“I’d go back to Craw­ley in a heart­beat. I want to fin­ish off what I started and if they’d take me back I would snap up the chance to re­turn and play in the League again.”

PIC­TURE: Ac­tion Images

BRIGHT FU­TURE: Fred­die Wood­man has re­turned to New­cas­tle a bet­ter goal­keeper af­ter his loan at Craw­ley and, in­set, dad Andy

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