Freddie Woodman has revealed his mantra of hard work, preparation and goal-setting led to him achieving his World Cup dream with England.
The 23 year old, currently on loan with Swansea City from Newcastle United, helped the Young Lions lift the U20 World Cup in 2017 and collected the Golden Gloves award to go with it.
And Woodman has been speaking about how he set himself that very target 12 months in advance, in the first edition of ‘Pass The Gloves On’ for FA Education with our head of goalkeeping Tim Dittmer.
- Born: Croydon, 04/03/97
- Clubs: Newcastle United, Hartlepool, Crawley, Kilmarnock, Aberdeen, Swansea City
- England caps: U16, U17, U18, U19, U20, U21
"Setting goals is something I've done throughout my career,” revealed Woodman during his chat with Dittmer, who worked together at U19 and U21 level.
"I said to my dad at the start of that season that I wanted to be best goalkeeper at the U20 World Cup, after seeing the Serbian keeper get it at the previous U20 World Cup in New Zealand.
"He said: 'you should try and get in the team first' so that gave me the motivation to start with and I just set myself goals for all of that season.
"I still have the bit of paper, when I went on loan to Kilmarnock I set myself three goals for every month until June, when it was the World Cup Finals.
"I ticked some, and crossed some because I didn't make them, but then you get to the World Cup and there's more - win the first game, win the group, win the last 16, win the quarter final, win the semi-final...
"The feeling of just ticking them and the next thing you know, geez, you're in the Final here and you have an amazing chance to complete the goal.
"I'd set myself the goal and you've just got to work every day with that in your mind: why are you doing this? Because you want to achieve it, and that was always the thing especially when I was at Kilmarnock - if there was a gym session, I knew I had to do it to help reach that goal.
"If I don't do that extra session, or I don’t go to bed early, I won't get in the team so there was always a knock-on effect and that's something I did for six months - I lived it.
"And when you achieve it, I can't explain the feeling. It was an extreme goal, but it was just, wow, I've done it.”
Hard work has always been a key element for Woodman, stretching right back to his days as a teenager when he first made the move from Crystal Palace’s academy to Newcastle United, where his father Andy was also a goalkeeper coach.
"I felt a little bit of pressure going to Newcastle,” he revealed.
“Being the lad from London, I was a little bit different from the northern boys and obviously my dad was at the club as well so I had that at the back of my head as well: 'Is he only here because of his dad?' and stuff like that.
"It was always in my head to work harder than anyone else to make sure they couldn't say that.
"I had to train better than anyone else and perform better than anyone else because I didn't want that to be an excuse.
"I used to do as much extra as I could. It's a little thing I know, but I used to make sure I was the first person in and the last person to leave. Even if I'd done all my gym work, I'd wait around to make sure I was the last one to go.
"I did that for a while and the more I got respect from the lads and I made some fantastic friends up there.
"That sort of numbed the pressure and I started to feel that I wasn't Andy Woodman's son, but Freddie Woodman the goalkeeper which was nice.”