Defender surprisingly withdraws from international duty to ‘focus’ on Newcastle United

The centre-back was one of United’s key signings during the summer.

<p>Newcastle United defender Sven Botman.</p>

Newcastle United defender Sven Botman.

Newcastle United defender Sven Botman has withdrawn from the Holland Under-21s squad to focus on settling into life on Tyneside.

The former Lille centre-back has made six appearances for the Magpies since moving to St James Park in a £33million deal from French club Lille during the summer.

Botman was left out of the starting lineup for Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Bournemouth but has been quietly impressive during the opening appearances of his United career.

Speaking of the decision to leave the 22-year-old on the substitutes bench on Saturday, Magpies manager Eddie Howe said: “We managed their load in the last week when we had three games so today was bringing Dan (Burn) back, I just feel his leadership skills and his experience is needed in our time at the moment.

“Sven is going to be an outstanding player and will play many, many games for this club. We love him to bits but Dan just gets the nod at the moment.”

Botman was expected to head out on international duty as the Dutch Under-21s face their Belgian and Romanian counterparts over the next week.


But the highly-rated centre-back has informed manager Erwin van de Looi he will ‘not be available’ for either fixture as he wants to focus on Newcastle during the international break.

Botman will hope to regain his place in Eddie Howe’s starting eleven when Newcastle resume their Premier League campaign with a visit to Fulham on Saturday week.