Sven Botman’s Newcastle United debut assessed as Eddie Howe explains ‘huge’ transition

Eddie Howe was forced into a reshuffle to cope with Matt Targett’s absence at Brighton and Hove Albion.

Eddie Howe believes Sven Botman produced a “top class” performance against Brighton on his full Newcastle United debut.

The £35million summer signing from Lille made his first start a little earlier than people anticipated after Matt Targett’s absence.

A dead leg for Targett, which was sustained against Nottingham Forest last weekend, saw Botman partner Fabian Schar in central defence with Dan Burn moved out to left-back.

“I thought he did very well,” Howe said when asked about the 22-year-old. “He looked composed, solid and had a good partnership with Fabby [Schar].

“I was very pleased with him and I thought he used the ball very well, especially in the first half.

“To come here and be part of a backline that keeps a clean sheet albeit wasn’t always calm at the back.

“It was difficult in the second half but I thought Sven was top class.”

Howe admitted preparing without Targett was difficult but spoke glowing of Burn’s performance at full-back.

“I thought Dan did great today,” the 44-year-old said.

“It was very difficult. Although it’s a small transition across the pitch, it’s a huge one at the same time.

“He hadn’t played left-back for a long time but I thought he did very well against his former team.

“He put in one crucial block that saved us at a key time in the game.

“Overall, very pleased with his performance and his attitude to doing that position.”