Steve Bruce will make a decision on his goalkeeper for Friday’s match against Leeds in the next 24 hours. That was Bruce’s response when asked about making a change at the position with Karl Darlow now fit and available.
This was Bruce’s response when asked if a change could be expected at goalkeeper as published in The Chronicle:
“I will make that decision with 24 hours to go.
“Make no mistake, when I do make that decision the players will know first.”
Part of this answer harkens back to last season’s controversy when The Telegraph’s Luke Edwards reported that Karl Darlow would be dropped for Martin Dubravka ahead of the Wolves match in late February.
Reports emerged that Darlow was very frustrated with hearing about his demotion through the media before being told by Bruce. So Bruce is making certain nothing like that evolves this time around.
Freddie Woodman has started all of Newcastle’s five matches, even in the Carabao Cup against Burnley. He had played quite well in front of some rickety defending. Karl Darlow returned to the bench at Old Trafford after his long bout with Covid.
Unfortunately, Woodman made a couple of mistakes that resulted in goals from Cristiano Ronaldo. The 24-year-old held up his hands after the match admitting that his performance wasn’t good enough.
However, it has opened the door for Darlow to get the nod tomorrow against Leeds, which seems to be the direction Bruce is leaning towards. Darlow was outstanding during the first half of last season when Martin Dubravka was out with a heel injury.
A bad run of form to start the second half of the campaign coupled with Dubravka’s return led to a switch at goalkeeper. It was harsh on Darlow as it will be on Woodman if Bruce makes the change tomorrow.
However, Bruce has to make the decision that he feels gives Newcastle the best chance to win. Bruce also added that decisions like this one are some of the hardest parts of his job.
“I have to speak to the players involved, that happens.
“Every week, arguably, it’s the hardest part of management.
“I have 20 odd players and I can only pick 11.
“So I think all of them are big calls, and that’s my job to make them.”