Steve Bruce drops big Newcastle United team selection hint

Freddie Woodman is in “pole position” to start the season between the posts.

Steve Bruce.
Steve Bruce.

The Newcastle United goalkeeper – who had a medical at Bournemouth last month ahead of a proposed loan move to the Championship club after being told he was not in Steve Bruce’s plans for the coming season – kept a clean sheet in Saturday’s 3-0 win over Norwich City.

Woodman and Mark Gillespie had played 45 minutes each in the club’s previous three pre-season friendlies against Rotherham United, Burton Albion and Burnley.

And Woodman – who has spent the past two years on loan at Championship side Swansea City – is set to make his Premier League debut in Sunday’s season-opener against West Ham United at St James’s Park with Martin Durbravka sidelined following foot surgery and Karl Darlow recovering from Covid-19.

Bruce praised Woodman, under contract at the club for another two years, for a “mature” performance against Norwich.

"Yes, he’s put himself in pole position, simply because of the problems we have with Martin Dubravka and Karl Darlow,” said United’s head coach. "So he’s in pole position, and I thought he did very well. He was mature in his performance.

"You can see he's had two years on loan, and played first-team football. I’m very pleased with him."

Woodman’s move to Bournemouth was put on hold after 32-year-old Dubravka, the club’s No.1, had an operation following his involvement at Euro 2020 with Slovakia.

Freddie Woodman in last year's play-off final at Wembley.

Darlow – who started last season in goal after Dubravka had heel surgery – returned to light training last week after a spell out with Covid-19.

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