The big decision facing Steve Bruce at Newcastle United as Freddie Woodman rejoins training

Freddie Woodman was set to start the new season as Bournemouth’s No.1.

Now, the goalkeeper could start the new campaign between the posts for Newcastle United

A proposed loan move for Woodman was put on hold earlier this month due to injury concerns over Martin Dubravka, who has had foot surgery and is set to miss the start of the season.

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Woodman – who has spent the past two years on loan at Swansea City, and has two years left on his deal – had been due to travel to Spain for a training camp with Bournemouth after undergoing a medical.

The 24-year-old was told to report to the club’s training base in Yorkshire. Woodman, however, had to leave the training camp soon afterwards for a period of self-isolation along with fellow goalkeeper Mark Gillespie after second-choice Karl Darlow tested positive for Covid-19.

Steve Bruce, without all four senior goalkeepers, had to name 20-year-old Dan Langley in goal for Newcastle’s first two pre-season friendlies.

Woodman and Gillespie were able to return to the fold this week, but Darlow, according to Bruce, is “still not very well”.

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Speaking after Friday night’s 3-2 win over Doncaster Rovers, United’s head coach said: "The goalkeeping situation should be a little bit better, (but) Karl Darlow is still not very well. He's not great at all, unfortunately with Covid at the moment."

Steve Bruce at the Keepmoat Stadium.Steve Bruce at the Keepmoat Stadium.
Steve Bruce at the Keepmoat Stadium.

Darlow – who started last season in goal after Dubravka had an heel operation last summer – is now a doubt for the first game of the season against West Ham United on August 15.

And Bruce could potentially have to choose between Woodman and 29-year-old Gillespie, signed as a free agent last summer following a spell at Motherwell, for that fixture.

Neither goalkeeper has played a Premier League game, though both have a lot of experience outside the top flight.

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Woodman, certainly, is a different player to the one last seen in a United jersey, having come through two tough seasons with Swansea in the Championship. Woodman won plaudits for his performances – and the Golden Glove award – last season.

Freddie Woodman playing for Swansea City last season.Freddie Woodman playing for Swansea City last season.
Freddie Woodman playing for Swansea City last season.

The former England Under-21 international is seen by many fans as a future No.1 at Newcastle. However, if Darlow is unavailable, and he is overlooked, then he will surely feel that his long-term future lies elsewhere.

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