Newcastle United correspondent and former England cricketer Steve Harmison has compared Sven Botman to Manchester United legend Nemanja Vidic. The Ashington-born double Ashes winner covers the Magpies for talkSPORT and has been wowed by Eddie Howe’s £35million summer signing.
United are unbeaten in the 12 Premier League games Botman has started, winning seven and drawing five, which includes six clean sheets. Howe’s side sit third in the table heading into the World Cup break and Harmison believes the 22-year-old has played a huge part in that.
Indeed, Harmison has tipped Botman to become a “superstar”. He told talkSPORT: “Holland have got a very good centre-back pair but Sven Botman is going to be a superstar. Newcastle are third in the Premier League and I think they’ve got a chance of staying up there because of the defence Eddie Howe has built and the stability he’s got.
“Nick Pope and the back four are keeping clean sheets for fun and that’s largely down to the big Dutchman because he is a machine. He’s a big lad with a strong character. He’s got a bit of pace. His persona on the pitch is infectious, all he wants to do is defend.
“I’m going to get Manchester United fans hammering me for saying it but I think he’s the closest thing I’ve seen to Nemanja Vidic since he left the Premier League. He’s a big strong man who wants to defend but he can play as well.”
Botman was unfortunate to miss out on Louis van Gaal’s Netherlands World Cup squad on Friday after being named in the 55-man provisional. The former Lille defender bounced back at the weekend however, as he helped Newcastle beat Chelsea 1-0 at St James’ Park.