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Sitting in the changing room ahead of the World Cup final in South Korea, England’s Under 20 goalkeeper Freddie Woodman picked up a pen and paper to write himself a note.
Sitting in the changing room ahead of the World Cup final in South Korea, England’s Under 20 goalkeeper Freddie Woodman picked up a pen and paper to write himself a note.
‘You can get lost in the emotions of the game and too caught up in it,’ said Woodman, godson of Gareth Southgate. ‘One of the notes I wrote before the final said, “Stay in control”.’
The 20-year-old did. He saved a penalty against Venezuela in the sweltering heat of Suwon. England won 1-0 and were world champions for the first time since 1966.
Woodman, hopeful of breaking through under Rafa Benitez at Newcastle, was shown a photo on social media. It was of the England senior squad gathered around a laptop at their training base in France watching the Under 20s in the final.
Woodman said: ‘It means so much, to see the guys we’ ve all grown up watching. I see Joe Hart as a role model. I watch him and try to pick things from his game. I got a nice message from Jack Butland congratulating me. I also got one from Tom Heaton.’
England’s Under 20s are a tight bunch. ‘It’s like going away with your brothers,’ Woodman said. ‘You get to go away with your brothers and play football. It’s the best thing that can happen to you.
‘We have just spent five weeks together and we have won the World Cup together. We’ re one big happy family. Now I want to go back to Newcastle and impress. I have a right to challenge.’
That is being felt by all the squad… that they deserve to be in the Premier League.

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