Eddie Howe names Newcastle United 'role model' after being ruled out for six weeks

Newcastle United stand-in captain Dan Burn. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)Newcastle United stand-in captain Dan Burn. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Newcastle United stand-in captain Dan Burn. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images) | Getty Images
Newcastle United defender Dan Burn has excelled for his boyhood club in recent weeks.

It wasn’t too long ago Dan Burn was coming under-fire at Newcastle United. Now, you won’t find a soul who is criticising the Blyth-born defender.

As Newcastle’s form plummeted from December onwards, perhaps no position came under more scrutiny than Burn at left-back. It was an area, also occupied by Sven Botman, that oppositions teams were targeting, and the pacey men of Nottingham Forest, Luton Town and Bournemouth were having a field day.

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But since the March international break, that has felt like a distant memory. ACL injuries to Botman and Jamaal Lascelles has seen Burn return to a much preferred centre-back role to which he has excelled.

Newcastle United stand-in captain Dan Burn. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)Newcastle United stand-in captain Dan Burn. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Newcastle United stand-in captain Dan Burn. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images) | Getty Images

The Magpies had been concerning goals for fun but in their last two fixtures have recorded back-to-back clean sheets for the first time since September. Perhaps it is no coincidence that has coincided with Burn’s mammoth displays of late.

“He's been excellent,” said Newcastle boss Eddie Howe. “He looks better physically... He broke his back, it was a really serious injury, he came back quite quickly from that injury due to the position we were in as a squad. So, again, another player that's really done everything he can for the team.

“Then moving back in centrally, it's looked comfortable for him. It's obviously an easiest position to play physically than the roles on the outside of the pitch, but I think his leadership qualities, again, have been first class. He's played really well with Fabby [Schar] and they've built a good relationship up again very quickly. That's been good to see."

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The back injury Howe mentioned was sustained in a 1-0 win at home to Arsenal on November 4. It was expected to rule the 31-year-old out for three months but he returned in six weeks, a clear hallmark of Burn’s character as he played through the pain barrier in order to help his depleted teammates.

Burn has captained his boyhood club in the absence of Lascelles and Kieran Trippier. His commitment and leadership are just two of factors that make him a role model, according to Howe.

Howe said: "He's been a big part of our leadership team for a long time. But, out of that leadership group he's the only one who is fit, which is a problem for us.

“When you lose the voices and the positive inputs that those players are providing, it certainly leaves a bit of a gap. Then you need other players to step up.

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“I think we do have other leaders who are emerging, but Dan's been one consistent for us. He's been huge for us in lots of different respects; he's an absolute role model really for everyone to look at. He does lead by example every single day."

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