While he may not have got the opportunity he would have hoped for at Newcastle United, you do still feel as though Freddie Woodman will be rather pleased with how the last season-and-a-half have gone for him.
The young goalkeeper has spent that period of his career on loan in the Championship with Swansea City, where there can be no doubt that he has certainly impressed with his performances.
Having first moved to the Welsh club on loan during the 2019 summer transfer window, Woodman was a near ever-present for the Swans, making 43 appearances and keeping 12 clean sheets to help the club to the play-offs, where they ultimately missed out on promotion to the Premier League, with Woodman missing their semi-final defeat to Brentford through injury.
Woodman then returned to The Liberty Stadium for a second loan spell last summer, and looks to be on track put right the disappointment of missing out on promotion last season.
Despite the arrival of the more experienced Ben Hamer last month, Woodman has played in all but one of Swansea’s Championship games during the campaign so far, keeping a remarkable 15 clean sheets in 26 outings, helping them to third in the table, two points off Norwich but with a game in hand.
But in spite of all that, it could still be argued that Woodman’s future at Newcastle when this latest loan deal expires is far from certain.
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Although Woodman did sign a new contract with Newcastle last summer prior to his second loan move to Swansea – securing his future at St James’ until the end of the 2022/23 season – with Karl Darlow and Martin Dubravka both on contracts with the Magpies that last longer than that – it could be hard for Woodman to claim the number one spot in Steve Bruce’s side, considering the ability those two possess.
Considering the regular first-team football he has enjoyed over the past couple of seasons, it is hard to see Woodman wanting to return to a place further down the pecking order at St James’ come the end of this season.
There had also been talk of a move to Arsenal for Woodman as back-up to Bernd Leno during the January transfer window, but the loan signing of Mat Ryan from Brighton brought an end to that possibility, and it would likely rule out the chance of any fresh interest in Woodman from The Emirates in the summer, were the Gunners to make the Ryan’s move permanent, with the Australian international out of favour in Graham Potter’s side.
For their part, you imagine that Swansea would love to make Woodman’s move to the Liberty Stadium permanent given the quality of performance he has produced for them, and the financial windfall of promotion to the Premier League – which Woodman himself would surely have to play a big part over the next few months – would undoubtedly go a long way to helping them secure the services of the 23-year-old long term.
It seems therefore, that there is still much to be decided with regards to Woodman’s future beyond the end of the current campaign, which given what is at stake, you feel he will be fully focused on for now.
One thing that is certain however, is that whatever happens beyond the end of this season, the experience and chance to develop that this loan spell has given Woodman, means this stint with Swansea itself, can only be considered a clear success.