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Steady Freddie Shows He's Ready

NUFC Logo Newcastle United FC

Freddie Woodman speaks after making his Reserve team debut against York at the age of just 14

By Dan King - Newcastle United Club Reporter

Freddie Woodman made his Reserve team debut at the tender age of 14 and admitted: "I enjoyed it."

He replaced Jonathan Mitchell for the final 16 minutes of Wednesday's practice match win over York at Bootham Crescent and made two fine saves although Jamie Reed finally beat him late on.

The son of United Goalkeeping Coach Andy Woodman joined the club from Crystal Palace in August and recently joined up with the England under-16 squad for a training camp.

His opposite number, veteran York goalkeeper Paul Musselwhite, was 42 - three times as old as Woodman, who does not turn 15 until next March.

And after his bow, the young keeper told nufc.co.uk: "I was nervous at the beginning but when I made that first save all the lads told me to relax and I thought I did alright.

"I was a bit nervous here and there but I enjoyed it.

"The guys out there were a lot stronger, a lot faster than I'm used to, but you've just got to get on with it."

Woodman was first called into action as he palmed away an effort from Adriano Moke, then he made a superb reaction save to keep out a heavily deflected effort.

But he explained: "I didn't really see much of it. I was going to the left for the shot and then it took a deflection and I had to move my body to get behind it."

He then produced a strong block from another goalbound strike and explained: "The guy hit it really powerfully and I just had to get a hand in front of it and get it out of the way, out of the box, out of the danger zone."

And despite Reed's late effort, Newcastle won 3-1 thanks to a brace from Mehdi Abeid and a rare Stephen Folan goal.

As well as Woodman, a number of other Academy youngsters gained further experience with Peter Beardsley and Willie Donachie's side, such as fellow goalkeeper Mitchell, defender Michael Riley, midfielders Brandon Miele and Dennis Knight and forwards Adam Campbell and Ryan McGorrigan.

"I think everyone deserves a chance to show what they can do in the Reserves and I was just happy to get my chance today," said Woodman, who is loving life up north.

"It's brilliant," he insisted. "I enjoy it up here, I've settled into the new house nicely and everything's quality.

"I just hope to play for the under-16s now, keep progressing and hopefully get in the England under-16s squad."