Newcastle United and Liverpool stars to miss next two games after illness blow

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Newcastle United defender Sven Botman has left the Netherlands training camp alongside four other players

Newcastle United defender Sven Botman is one of five players to have left the Netherlands training camp after an illness outbreak in Dutch squad - as he misses the nation’s opening Euro 2024 qualifying games.

The Magpies centre-back will return to England alongside Liverpool’s Cody Gakpo with the Premier League pair affected by a “virus infection.”

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Matthijs de Ligt, Joey Veerman and Bart Verbruggen are also ill and will not feature for the Netherlands as they get their Euro 2024 qualifying campaign underway tomorrow.

Ronald Koeman’s side have a huge opening fixture against France on Friday night before facing Gibraltar on Monday evening.

A statement from the Netherlands national side confirmed: “Sven Botman, Cody Gakpo, Matthijs de Ligt, Joey Veerman and Bart Verbruggen left the training camp of the Dutch national team this morning. They are suffering from a virus infection.

“With a view to Orange’s first European Championship qualifier against France, national coach Ronald Koeman calls on three replacements: Ryan Gravenberch (Bayern Munich), Kjell Scherpen (Vitesse) and Stefan de Vrij (Inter).”

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Newcastle are currently based in Dubai as they prepare for a return to Premier League action against top-four rivals Manchester United on April 2.

Eddie Howe’s side are fifth in the table, just two points behind Tottenham Hotspur in fourth, having played two games fewer. They are five points clear of Liverpool in sixth.

Botman joined Newcastle last summer for a reported fee of around £32m and has proven a shrewd signing by Howe. He has played in 24 of the club’s 26 league games this term.

It is unclear how long the illness will keep the defender out of action but with over a week before the clash with Man United, there will be hope there is enough time for the Dutchman to overcome the illness as the Magpies eye a top-four place.

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