Newcastle United goalkeeper Freddie Woodman has given an wide-ranging interview with The Athletic, in which he claims Rafa Benitez left him ‘absolutely fuming’.
The 23-year-old is currently on loan at Swansea City, where he has been playing his football since the summer of 2019.
It’s been going very well for Woodman in Wales, and the star is clearly enjoying his time at the Liberty Stadium.
The loan is providing him with the chance to do the only thing he’s ever wanted, which is to play regularly.
That’s something he’s never had the chance to do at his parent club.
He wasn’t given a proper chance by previous manager Rafa Benitez, and Woodman has told of the Spaniard’s reaction when he returned to the club after winning the U20 World Cup with England in 2017.
He said (The Athletic): “We came back from winning a World Cup with England and I remember seeing Rafa. He slapped me on the face and said, ‘Well done’. That was literally it. All the other players were getting raved about.
“It was a low point for me because nothing really happened in my career. I didn’t get to push on, I didn’t go on loan and I wasn’t even on the bench.
“I remember thinking, ‘How can I go from the Golden Glove and winning the World Cup, to playing in the under-23s?’ I was absolutely fuming; I probably thought maybe I was bigger than I was. It was definitely a reality check.”
Woodman starting to flourish
He will have felt rotten at the time, but maybe that experience has helped Woodman.
He’ll always have it is his mind to spur him on and it could ultimately help him become a better goalkeeper.
Woodman is doing very well at Swansea and is getting regular minutes like he’s always wanted – and maybe he’ll ultimately turn his move permanent.