Sven Botman’s career is not over - he can look across the Newcastle United dressing room to find ACL inspiration

Newcastle United defender Sven Botman will be sidelined for up to nine months with an ACL injuryNewcastle United defender Sven Botman will be sidelined for up to nine months with an ACL injury
Newcastle United defender Sven Botman will be sidelined for up to nine months with an ACL injury | Getty Images
Sven Botman is out for up to nine months but one Newcastle United teammate has been here before

Fingers are being pointed, questions have been asked and vitriol is emanating around Tyneside as Newcastle United contend with another hammer blow.

That was the immediate reaction on social media when the club announced Sven Botman could face up to nine months out with an ACL injury. The statement was vague, with a website post confirming he sustained the injury during the 2-0 defeat to Manchester City.

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Botman was hooked in the closing stages as Newcastle chased a game that, in truth, was already beyond their reach. But Toon fans have suspected the Dutchman may have been playing through an injury to begin with.

This is not a David Icke-style conspiracy theory - simply look at recent events. Botman revealed in January that he played against Sheffield United and AC Milan with an ACL tear earlier this season without realising.

That setback ruled him out for three months and the 24-year-old has not looked fully fit since. Perhaps now, having undergone surgery, he can heal up and be back to his best before the year ends.

There is also the issue of Eddie Howe admitting to Sean Longstaff playing with a foot injury he suffered almost 12 months ago. Was that a Freudian slip? The confession sure triggered alarm bells for Newcastle fans.

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Fear about Botman never being the same player again will now be at the forefront of Howe and the recruitment team. Signed as the future of Newcastle’s defence, the Dutchman is still just 24. This is not a Callum Wilson or a Kieran Trippier enduring a career-ending injury.

Botman can simply look across the dressing room at Tino Livramento, the youngster who has taken St James’ Park by storm when given the opportunity. Toon fans could be mistaken for ever thinking the full-back had suffered a serious ACL tear just under two years ago.

From a recruitment perspective, signing Livramento last summer was a risk as he had played just 26 minutes of Premier League action since making a comeback. But a strong mentality got the 21-year-old through the hard times - and Botman must follow suit.

“Mentally, it put me through a lot of things,” Livramento told The Telegraph about his year-long lay-off. “I had to look at myself and realise it was down to me. How much did I really want it? It made me grow up, massively.

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“I was 19 (and) already living away from my family. I was going through a lot of things. I didn’t know whether I was going to return to the same level I was at or be able to improve.

“I didn’t even know if I would be able to dribble again, pass properly off that foot. I could have lost my agility and my pace. You see injuries happen to players and I used to think that’s tough, but now I really know what it takes to come back. I’ve been there.”

Every cloud, as the saying goes, has a silver lining. When one door closes, another opens. There are undoubtedly more proverbs that ring true for Newcastle right now.

Losing Botman until September at the earliest forces their hand to sign his long-term defensive partner. Many believe Newcastle needed a centre-back before this injury news - they have no option but to buy one now.

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Without the injury, the Magpies might have been tempted to ignore the issue and battle on. At 32, Fabian Schar cannot go on forever so bringing in a top defender - on Botman’s level - would be a prudent approach.

Botman could return to action fully fit and raring to go, with the burden of Newcastle’s defensive shape no longer resting solely on his shoulders. For now, however, United’s task of securing European football for another season just got a little harder.

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