Newcastle United’s Sven Botman may well be jetting off to the World Cup with the Netherlands.
That’s according to Shields Gazette writer Miles Stanforth, who has been more than impressed with the Dutch defender’s start to life on Tyneside.
The 22-year-old has started each of the Toon’s last six matches in a stretch that has seen Newcastle pick up 16 points from a possible 18.
The Magpies are fourth in the standings as a result of their fine form and boast the best defence in the Premier League, having conceded just 10 goals.
Speaking on the Mouth of the Tyne podcast, Stanforth said: “I guess he’s exactly what we all hoped he would be.
“There’s been ups and downs for him already. Of course, he pulled out of the Dutch U21 side in September after losing his place for one game; said he wanted to focus on his club, and he’s done that.
“He’s so commanding, calm, he’s all those kind of adjectives you want from a centre-half. Yes, it has been a steep learning curve, coming into the Premier League, but he’s making it look easy.
“Such a commanding figure, he’s a good foil for Fabian Schar too at the back, they’re a good pair. Of course, it’s a toss-up between Burn and Botman for that place.
“In terms of the Holland question, the World Cup – he’s put himself into the conversation as well. If you’re a Dutch defender in the defence which has got the best record in the Premier League and your team’s fourth in the Premier League, that’s a lot of strings to his bow already.
“The fact that he’s put himself firmly into that conversation as well, even though he’s never played a senior game, says a lot for how well he’s adapted to this move to Premier League football.”
TIF Thoughts on Stanforth’s comments…
Is Botman Newcastle's best defender?
As Stanforth pointed out, the talented youngster left the Dutch U21 set-up earlier this season, leaving his coach Erwin van de Looi ‘disappointed’.
However, having now earned a starting place in England’s meanest defence, the Ajax academy graduate could find himself on the end of a phone call from senior manager Louis van Gaal.
The north-east club are yet to lose a game in which the uncapped Holland ace has played and have kept a clean sheet in half of the 10 games he has started – including three of the last four matches.
However, although Botman does look like an assured and commanding figure who is wise beyond his years, we feel his lack of experience at international level will see him miss out on a place to Qatar, and had the World Cup been the following summer, he may have had more of a chance.