Newcastle United goalkeeper Freddie Woodman snubbed offers from Manchester United, Arsenal and even Manchester City because the prospect of breaking into the first-team at St James' Park is much better, according to the youngster's father, Andy.
The Newcastle Chronicle carries quotes from Woodman senior, who incidentally works as a coach in Alan Pardew's backroom team, whereby he confirms his son opted against Old Trafford, the Emirates or Etihad Stadium in favour of trying to make the grade on Tyneside.
"Some very big clubs were interested and they were putting pressure on," he reflected. "Unbeknown to me, the academy people had done their homework on Freddie and in a tongue-in-cheek sort of way, the bosses have said to me 'if your boy goes to another club how does that look because you're his coach and you're the coach here?'
"I think the real big thing that we thought about as a family – not just Freddie – is that he could have gone to Manchester United, he could have gone to Arsenal, he could have gone to Manchester City but the real big thing that really swayed us to Newcastle is that Newcastle's goalkeepers have come through the youth team."
The 17-year-old would not have expected to make his senior debut so soon, but is in line to feature in this weekend's Tyne-Wear derby against Sunderland because the Magpies have been hit with an injury crisis in that area of the pitch.
First-choice stopper Tim Krul picked up an ankle injury in training at the start of the month and is facing the prospect of up to six weeks on the sidelines, while his deputy Rob Elliot is also expected to be out until mid-January, which meant a surprise debut for 21-year-old Jak Alnwick in last weekend's 4-1 defeat against Arsenal.
However, unbelievably Alnwick also suffered a shoulder injury during Newcastle's 4-0 loss at Tottenham Hotspur in the Capital One Cup quarter-final in midweek, and is now a major doubt to face the Black Cats in what is sure to be a fiercely contested encounter with local bragging rights at stake.
Pardew is adamant that Woodman is not ready for first-team action, but might be forced to call upon the England U19 international with the Premier League reluctant to allow Newcastle special dispensation to sign another goalkeeper on emergency loan, due to the fact they have Karl Darlow - signed from Nottingham Forest in the summer - on their books.
Premier League predicament
Darlow was allowed to return to the City Ground for the 2014/15 campaign to gain more regular football, but the Magpies insist they do not have a recall option in the agreement with the Championship club.
If Alnwick doesn't recover in time for Sunday's game then Newcastle will hope that the Three Lions youngster - once dubbed the next Joe Hart - will be capable of putting a shift in as they look to get back to winning ways this weekend.
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