Before the transfer window opened, Rafael Benitez admitted Rob Elliot was the sole player he’d let go in January.
The Irish shot-stopper has found himself slip to fourth in the pecking order this season. With Martin Dubravka, Karl Darlow and Freddie Woodman all ahead of the 32-year-old, he is surplus to requirements.
Game time needed
However, Newcastle are missing a trick by not sending Woodman out on loan this month. The highly-rated England youth international is in desperate need of game time. This was evident against Blackburn Rovers in the FA Cup. Every time a cross entered the box, there was pressure from the visitors on the stand-in ‘keeper.
If Woodman is to fulfil his potential, Newcastle should look to the lower league clubs, or perhaps one in Scottish football, to help him make the breakthrough in the professional ranks.
Elliot, who openly admits he’s settled on Tyneside, hasn’t started a competitive game in over a year for the Magpies, but would still do a job if called upon. This should, therefore, open the door for Woodman to ply his trade elsewhere for a short-term spell.
If the 21-year-old stagnates as a back-up ‘keeper much longer, it’s possible that he will look towards a permanent exit from the club in order to keep his career on track.