PENALTY hero Freddie Woodman has revealed the secret behind his penalty heroics against Sunderland.
Newcastle United’s Under-18s won last night’s Wear-Tyne derby to book a place in the quarter-finals of the FA Youth Cup.
The two sides played out a goalless 120 minutes at the Stadium of Light.
And Woodman made TWO saves in the penalty shootout, won 3-1 by Newcastle, who were backed by more than 200 fans on Wearside.
Adam Armstrong, Sean Longstaff and Dan Drennan all converted their spot kicks to book a home tie against Chelsea, who knocked United out at the sixth-round stage last season.
Woodman – who saved a spot kick in last summer’s European Under-17 Championship final shootout between England and Holland – stopped penalties from Dan Casey and Elliot Embleton.
But the 17-year-old, son of Newcastle goalkeeping coach Andy, say he did NOT feel any nerves before the shootout.
“It was always in the back of my mind – the night before I was thinking it could go to penalties,” Woodman told the Gazette.
“I knew before I even looked at the person which way I was going to go.
“It’s just something I do – I did it in the Euros in May – and it worked really well.
“It sounds like a cliche, but every cup game I think about it, saying ‘let’s be the hero’.
“I was confident. I felt the game was won, without sounding too overly-confident.
“I looked up at my dad and my mum, and I felt really, really confident going into the penalty shootout.”
Woodman works with a psychologist, and he feels that gives him an edge on the field.
“I’ve worked with a psychologist,” said Woodman. “I had a coffee with him, and we just spoke about the game and the pressure of playing at Sunderland.”
United Academy coach Kevin Richardson felt the two teams “cancelled each other out” in a keenly-contested Wear-Tyne derby, played out in front of a 1,743 crowd.
“When you have these derby games, both teams can give 150 per cent and cancel each other out,” said Richardson.
“Both teams tried to play football when they could. I think the effort from both teams was very, very good.”
Asked what he had told Woodman before the penalty shootout, Richardson added: “I said he hadn’t done much in the 90 minutes, and asked if there was any chance he could save a few penalties!”