Eddie Howe drops Sven Botman selection hint ahead of Newcastle United’s trip to Brighton

Newcastle United head coach Eddie Howe resisted temptation to start Sven Botman against Nottingham Forest.

Eddie Howe has explained why Sven Botman was left out of Newcastle United’s starting XI against Nottingham Forest.

The £35million summer signing from Lille was a late substitute as Howe decided to stick with Fabian Schar and Dan Burn as his centre-back pairing.

United kept a clean sheet as second half goals from Fabian Schar and Callum Wilson sealed the perfect start to the new Premier League season.

It’s likely Schar and Burn will retain their places for the visit to Brighton and Hove Albion next weekend with Howe set to adopt a similar settling-in process with Botman, as he did with Bruno Guimaraes.

Asked his decision not to start the Dutchman, Howe said: “They (Burn & Schar) were excellent second half of last season. I have to say, together with Jamaal (Lascelles), who more than played his part.

Newcastle United defender Sven Botman. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

“All three centre-backs for me, were excellent, but we needed more strength in depth, we couldn’t rely on three this season.

“Federico Fernandez has had his injury problems so we felt it was a position we needed to strengthen.

“Sven was a long-term target for us, we were delighted to sign him.

“But I think this period, however long it is before he gets his opportunity to start, will do him the world of good.

“He will get to know the league, the speed and I’ve got no doubts about him as a player. He’ll be a top player for this football club but there’s real competition for places.

“Dan, Fabian and Jamaal - they’re not going to give up their shirts easily. That’s a battle I love to see, knowing I’ve got that quality certainly bodes well for the season.”

Howe is awaiting a further update on Jamaal Lascelles after he was forced to withdraw from the matchday squad just minutes before kick-off at St James’ Park.