It’s unusual for a goalkeeper who had had only 12 first team games in his career and none for his club Newcastle United to be representing the England U-21 side, but that’s exactly what Freddie Woodman has achieved.
Woodman has starred for the England U-17 and U-19 sides in particular, but has played for every England youth side from U-16 level has made his debut for the England U-21 side in Thursday night’s 1-0 win in Kazakhstan.
That win was enough to ensure England are in next summer’s European Championships finals.
Freddie Woodman – made debut at England U-21s
The 19 year-old is the son of former Newcastle goalkeeping coach Andy Woodman and he was delighted to make the big step up as he said this on the FA web-site:
“It was a fantastic night for me, to make my debut for the U-21s, it’s what I’ve wanted since I started my first game for the U-16s.”
“So it’s a great moment and to play in front of the back four that I did, I was privileged.”
“I didn’t have a lot to do, but it was good to play in front of those sort of players like Rob Holding, Chambo (Calum Chambers), Mason (Holgate) and Brendan (Galloway).”
“They’ve played in the Premier League and been there and done it and it’s brilliant for me to be in this group, with such high talented players.”
“It’s good to be around them and to learn from them in training so to play 90 minutes in Kazakhstan was brilliant for me and my development.”
Woodman is currently the England U-20 goalkeeper, but he was given his chance in the absence of U-21 goalkeepers Jordan Pickford, Angus Gunn and Joe Wildsmith.
The FIFA U-20 World Cup will also take place next summer and Andy is likely to be the England goalkeeper in that competition.
“It’s a great situation for me to be in, I’m in between the two squads at the moment and I know where I stand.”
“But for a problem, it’s brilliant, because I’m happy to come along and play for England like I’ve done since I first came into the set-up.”
“It’s a competitive age group and everyone wants to show the manager and Gareth Southgate what they’re about.”
“So it’s a good opportunity for players to come in and do that, get some game time and keep improving and learning.”
Woodman has only played 12 first team games in his career so far while on loan last season at Crawley Town and the reason is his appearances are so few is that he has been needed by Newcastle.
Freddie was recalled from his loan spell at Crawley Town when Tim Krul was badly injured last October and he has needed at Newcastle this season until Rob Elliot is fit again – maybe in a month or two.
Freddie will then head out on loan in January for the rest of the season and there are likely to be quite a few clubs interested in taking him.
Woodman will likely pick up his second England U-21 cap as they will play host to Bosnia and Herzegovina at Walsall’s Banks’ Stadium on Tuesday in their final European Championship qualifier.