Rafa Benitez reveals his Freddie Woodman dilemma at Newcastle – and his message for Sean Longstaff

Freddie Woodman
Freddie Woodman

Rafa Benitez says he is yet to decide whether Freddie Woodman will be loaned out this season.

The Newcastle United goalkeeper spent the second half of last season on loan at Aberdeen.

The players can then train in the way you want them to train and they learn the things that you want to teach them. If they go on loan, sometimes it’s just to play, and that’s it.

Rafa Benitez

And Woodman is keen to get more games under his belt this season, having helped England’s Under-21s win the Toulon Tournament this summer.

However, Benitez could yet keep the 21-year-old at St James’s Park to compete with Martin Dubravka, Karl Darlow and Rob Elliot.

Asked if Woodman would be loaned before next week’s deadline, United’s manager said: “Still we have to decide about that.

“I think with the young players ... sometimes it’s better if they go on loan, but sometimes it’s better if they stay with you.

“The players can then train in the way you want them to train and they learn the things that you want to teach them. If they go on loan, sometimes it’s just to play, and that’s it.

“We have the Under-23s for them to play. Each case is different. Still, we have time and we will decide.

“We were in favour of sending Freddie on loan last year, which was good.

“But sometimes you want to keep players, like (Sean) Longstaff.

“He has had some teams asking for him, but he has been training with us.

“I told him ‘you’re training with us, you’re seeing how the senior players work, the pace and physicality of the game ... if you go to another team, maybe you will play, but the coaching will be different. If you stay here, and you’re not playing too much because we cannot give you minutes, fine. That’s your learning period here, and then you can go on loan and play’.

“We try to find the balance, but it depends on each player.”

Woodman and 20-year-old midfielder Sean Longstaff could be involved in Wednesday night’s second-round Carabao Cup tie against Nottingham Forest at the City Ground.