Eddie Howe's message to Newcastle United’s Sven Botman after selection call

Eddie Howe’s decision to leave Sven Botman on the bench will have come as a surprise to some – but not necessarily to the Newcastle United defender.

Botman, signed in the summer for £35million, was an unused substitute against Bournemouth before the international break.

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Speaking at the time about his decision to field January signing Dan Burn ahead of Botman, Howe said: “I just feel his leadership skills and his experience, we need that in our team at the moment.

“Sven’s going to be an outstanding player, and will play many, many games for this club. We love him to bits, but Dan just gets the nod at the moment.”

Botman responded by withdrawing from Holland’s Under-21 squad to “focus on his club” ahead of tomorrow’s fixture against Fulham at Craven Cottage.

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Howe says he made it clear to Botman before his move that he would need to “learn” about English football – and his team-mates – in his first season at the club.

Asked about his decision to leave Botman on the bench against Bournemouth, Howe said: "He understands. We talked at length before he came here about our vision and plan for him.

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"It was never going to be the case that he was going to step in and play every minute of every game with coming to a new league, being young – and learning everything that he needs to learn about the league and his team-mates.

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"Also, it’s respecting players that did so well for us at the back end of last season. You have to earn your place, fight for your place and show you are better than the other players.

"I have been very pleased with how he’s adapted and developed, and I’m really excited about what he is going to become for us in the future."

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A “disappointed” Erwin van de Looi, Holland’s Under-21 coach, suggested that there could be international repercussions for Botman following his withdrawal.

Howe, though, thinks there was too much made of Botman’s withdrawal.

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"Everything gets blown out of all proportion,” said United’s head coach. “Sven was keen to continue his learning and development here in terms of adjusting to the Premier League.

"He’s done that really well. Certainly, from the two weeks he’s had with us, he’s trained excellently – and it’s really benefited him.

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“We were pleased to keep him, because you have that control over what they’re doing when they’re here."

Botman – who had also been a summer target for AC Milan – spoke about his move to Newcastle in July.

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“It’s my first time playing in the Premier League – I think it’s the best league in the world – and it’s getting stronger and stronger,” told the Gazette.

“Every team is getting the best players. Newcastle isn’t just a club who is playing in the Premier League – and seeing what happens.

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“They have a strict plan. They want to reach the top – and that’s something that really attracts me. I want to help Newcastle with the goals they have.”