Why Celtic must sign Freddie Woodman from Newcastle United
Reports from Chronicle Live earlier this month indicated that Celtic are scouting Newcastle United goalkeeper Freddie Woodman. The Scottish champions are believed to have scouted the young custodian, who is in the final year of his contract with the Magpies (h/t Chronicle Live).
Woodman started out at Crystal Palace, before moving to Newcastle United’s youth setup back in 2013. And his progress through the ranks at the Tyneside outfit has been rapid and impressive.
The 21-year-old goalkeeper had short loan stints at Hartlepool United and Crawley Town, before leaving the club for another temporary spell at Scottish outfit Kilmarnock in January 2017. The Englishman made 15 appearances for the Killies in the second half of the 2016/17 season, conceding 19 goals and managing four shut-outs.
He broke into Rafael Benitez’s first-team in the 2017/18 term but had to wait till January 2018 for his senior debut, which came in a 3-1 win over Luton Town in the FA Cup. However, Woodman was shipped out on loan soon after, this time to Aberdeen, where he made 8 appearances and kept three clean sheets. The 21-year-old has impressed in his five games for the Newcastle U23 side in the ongoing campaign.
Woodman has also showcased his talents for England’s youth teams on the international stages. The stopper was part of the Three Lions’ U17 squad that lifted the European U17 Championship back in 2014. Three years later, the Newcastle United man played a vital role in the U20 setup, as they lifted the FIFA U20 World Cup in South Korea. Woodman also won the Golden Glove award for the tournament.
Celtic have Scotland international Craig Gordon as their undisputed first-choice goalkeeper. During the summer, they signed Scott Bain from Dundee to act as a backup, with Dorus de Vries acting as the third-choice. However, considering that Gordon is 35 and De Vries is in the twilight of his career at 37, signing a new goalkeeper next summer would be a sensible move for the Hoops.
And in Woodman, they will receive a young and promising talent, who has played in Scotland before. The Newcastle United starlet has shown his ability to thrive on the big stages – his success with the England youth setups testify as much. And given that he is just 21, he is bound to improve and get better from here on.
Woodman has less than twelve months left on his current deal with the Magpies and will be available on a free transfer next summer. And considering the potential he has shown in his fledgeling career so far, Celtic must look to capitalize on the situation and secure the youngster’s signature.