Journalist Chris Waugh has claimed that people in and around Sven Botman are surprised by his Newcastle United situation.
Having arrived to much fanfare, Botman may well have expected to have walked straight into the Newcastle side, however, heading into October, he’s managed to start just four league games – although he has remained unbeaten in those matches.
Botman appears to have a task on his hands to shift Dan Burn out of the left centre-back spot, with the Geordie-born January signing seemingly favoured by Eddie Howe for his ‘leadership‘ in the backline, causing the Dutchman to withdraw from Under-21 duty in order to win back his place in the starting XI.
Speaking on Pod on the Tyne, Waugh has admitted that people in Botman’s camp are slightly surprised by his lack of minutes in the Premier League to this point.
He said: “I’ve spoken to people in and around Sven Botman’s camp, and the interesting bit is that I don’t think they expected what has happened so far from here.
“Obviously, AC Milan were in for him as well – the Serie A champions; he had the chance to go there. They couldn’t actually afford him in the end as well, but he did have essentially a choice between going to Newcastle and going there, and he chose to come to Newcastle.
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“Dan Burn has been fantastic, but if you said to Sven Botman’s people in January that you’d sign in the summer and you’d be behind Dan Burn – who at the time, wasn’t even a guaranteed starter at centre-back for Brighton – if you come to Newcastle.
“I think it’s taken him by surprise a little bit and that’s part of the reason, part of the thinking behind this staying behind for these two weeks, to show to Eddie Howe, ‘I am learning, this is what I’m trying to do, I want to get into that team and I’m desperate to’.”
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Given Botman’s pedigree and the fact he was being chased by the Italian champions over the summer, he may well have expected to walk into the starting lineup at Newcastle alongside Fabian Schar, but it seems the form of Burn has been too good for Howe to ignore.
While it will be frustrating for either Botman or Burn to be dropped, that he can call upon two top-class defenders who will both be able to put in a solid performance and carry out his instructions is a great headache for Howe to have.
Newcastle’s defence has been what’s helped them cement a place in the top half thus far, as the Magpies have shipped just seven goals – with five of them coming in games against Manchester City and Liverpool – so having one of Botman or Burn out of the starting lineup may yet improve the duo moving forward.