Newcastle United U-turn may have blown player’s slim World Cup chance as manager hits out

Newcastle United defender Sven Botman has been criticised by the Netherlands Under-21s manager following his withdrawal from the squad.

The 22-year-old was called-up to the Dutch Under-21s side for the upcoming friendly matches against Belgium and Romania this month but decided to withdraw himself to focus on his club duties on Tyneside.

Botman was dropped from Newcastle’s starting line-up for 1-1 Premier League draw with AFC Bournemouth at St James’s Park last weekend.

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The £35million summer signing was also named on the bench for the matches against Nottingham Forest and Liverpool.

Newcastle player Sven Botman holds his head in despair after a near miss during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Crystal Palace at St. James Park on September 03, 2022 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

As Botman focuses on getting back into Eddie Howe’s starting XI for the trip to Fulham on October 1, Netherlands Under-21s manager Erwin Van de Looi has expressed his disappointment with the defender’s decision.

"I had telephone contact with Sven. We’ve talked about it. Of course I accept his decision, but I don’t understand him," Van de Looi told Voetbal International. "It’s everyone’s free choice to come here, but I was disappointed with that announcement, that’s for sure.”

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Botman has been capped seven times for the Dutch Under-21s side but is still awaiting his first senior call-up.

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While his commitment to Newcastle should be praised, his international withdrawal could harm his chances of a future call-up with Van de Looi ominously stating that Botman’s decision is not ‘too convenient’ for the player.

"We are preparing for a European Championship, you would like to have everyone there,” added the 50-year-old.

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“You also hope that everyone likes to come, but if they don't, they don't. Everyone has their free choice. But I don't think it's too convenient for him either.

"You are working on something together and that sometimes includes friendly matches. I think you should be part of that if you are part of the group and that you should not cancel too easily.

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"On the other hand, I'm quite simple: you have to want to come and otherwise you don't. So we're going to keep going with the guys we have."

The Netherlands senior team have qualified for the World Cup in Qatar this winter where they will face Senegal, Ecuador and the host nation in the group stages.