Newcastle Has Quietly Assembled The World’s Best Stable Of Keepers

I wish we could start three goalkeepers at once.

Newcastle United held Liverpool to a 0-0 draw at St. James’ Park on Wednesday thanks largely to the play of goalkeeper Karl Darlow, who recorded four saves in his third clean sheet of the season. 

The 30-year-old Englishman has started all of Newcastle’s 15 Premier League matches with usual No. 1 Martin Dúbravka recovering from an ankle injury, but Darlow has been the Toons’ early player of the season with only West Brom’s Sam Johnstone recording more saves in England’s top flight. 

He stonewalled Mohamed Salah in a one-on-one situation Wednesday while also repelling two Roberto Firmino headers. 

Suddenly Newcastle has the best stable of goalkeepers on the planet. 

Darlow isn’t a new face on Tyneside — he was the club’s starting keeper during its 2016-17 season in Championship purgatory but failed to impress following promotion with Newcastle hovering near the relegation zone.

Dúbravka arrived from Sparta Prague in the January transfer window and Newcastle climbed from 16th to 10th thanks to his transformative presence in goal over the final 12 matches of the season. From there, Dúbravka staked his claim as the world’s most underrated keeper by playing every match in 2018-19 (Newcastle had the seventh best defensive record in the EPL) and 2019-20 (when he was rightfully named Newcastle’s Player of the Year).

Dúbravka should be considered one of the world’s best keepers. Darlow has arguably been the best keeper in the Premier League this season. But there’s one more: Freddie Woodman.

The 23-year-old has been tagged as Newcastle’s future No. 1 since leading England to the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup and winning the Golden Glove Award. He recently signed a three-year contract extension with the club but is out on loan at Championship side Swansea City.

Woodman kept a clean sheet on Wednesday against Reading, giving him 13 on the season. That’s four more than any other keeper in the Championship. He’s only conceded 11 goals in 21 games.   

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