Goalie Freddie Woodman believes a successful loan spell with Aberdeen can help him break into the Newcastle United first team.
The keeper joined the Dons on loan from the Magpies until the end of the season on the last day of the January window.
Woodman has played in all four of the Reds’ matches since joining and the 20-year-old has big ambitions.
His ultimate aim is to break into the Newcastle first team.
To do that he will have to overtake established goalie Karl Darlow and Rob Elliot in manager Rafa Benitez’s pecking order.
The Spaniard currently has Martin Dubravka at St James’ Park, on loan from Slavia Prague, and may try to sign him permanently in the summer.
However, Woodman is not fazed by the competition and believes if he performs well in the Granite City it could see him become Newcastle’s first choice goalie for next term.
He said: “I’ve been trying to push to play for quite a long time and I’m quite an impatient person.
“I want to play football matches because that’s when I’m at my happiest. Hopefully if I can do well here and go back to Newcastle, I’ll see what’s in store for me there.
“I’m always pushing myself and always pushing the management team to start and play games because that’s when I’m happy.”
Unlike some young players at big clubs Woodman isn’t content to wait in the wings for a chance to come along in the first team.
His spell with Aberdeen is his fourth loan move away from Newcastle.
The England Under-20 World Cup winner knows the importance of playing senior football.
Woodman has also been on loan at Hartlepool, Crawley Town and Kilmarnock.
He insists senior first team football has helped him far more in his development than playing in English Premier League U23 games.
He added: “It’s massive (regular football). I’ve said to a lot of young players about getting regular game time.
“I’ve been on a few loans now and you need to get out, you need to learn.
“You need to go and play in these atmospheres, you need to experience making mistakes and playing well and playing week-in, week-out.
“It’s all part of the learning curve and that’s the good thing about football – you can keep learning until you’re out of the game. It’s brilliant.
“It’s a massive difference. First and foremost you’ve got fans willing you to win. Fans travelling to away games wanting you to win – it’s a lot of pressure and a lot more quality and experience.
“There are a lot of experienced players who are going to try tricks and things so it’s all learning and brilliant for someone like me at 20 years old and fresh in the game really, and I’m in an environment where I can keep learning.”
Woodman, who is set to face his old team Killie in the Scottish Cup quarter-final tomorrow – if the game beats the weather – also revealed that as soon as he heard of interest from the Dons he was desperate to join the club.
Woodman wasn’t surprised by the quality of his Pittodrie team-mates as he already knew how good Derek McInnes’ squad was before joining.
He said: “When a football club with the stature of Aberdeen come in for you, it’s massive. I was delighted that they wanted to take me and I wanted to sign straight away.
“I wasn’t surprised because I already knew it was a fantastic squad here and I knew how good the team was before I joined.
“A team sitting where we are isn’t a bad team so I knew they would be good. They’re a really great group of lads and have made me feel welcome.”
Woodman also revealed his father Andy played a big part in the move.
Andy was also a goalie and played for Northampton Town, Brentford and Colchester United among a host of clubs in a near 20-year career in England’s lower leagues.
His son certainly appreciates his experience, with the pair chatting every day about goalkeeping.
“He was massive in me moving,” Freddie said.
“I speak to him every day about what I did in training, what I feel I need to improve on, just about everything.
“He’s always there to help me and lead me in the right direction because he’s played the game, been there and done it.
“He’s got a lot of experience, he’s passing it on to me and I’m either taking his advice or not taking it, so it’s brilliant.”