Sven Botman's bold Newcastle United choice that could help fulfil Netherlands World Cup ‘dream’
Bruno Guimaraes, Garang Kuol, Fabian Schar, Nick Pope, Kieran Trippier and Callum Wilson are all set to be heading to Qatar with their respective nations later this month – but what about Sven Botman?
The 22-year-old has been in excellent form since signing for Newcastle from Lille for £35million in the summer. He is yet to lose a game as a United player and his performances have gained the attention of Netherlands national team manager Louis van Gaal, who named the defender as part of his 39 man long list ahead of the official 26-man squad announcement.
The Dutch squad is set to be announced on Friday. Although Botman is yet to be capped by his home nation at senior level, the defender admitted it would be his ‘dream’ to make the final squad for Qatar.
"It's still my dream to get into the final selection,” he said. "But I am just focusing on every game I play now for Newcastle and then we will see what happens.
"I have not spoken to the manager [Van Gaal]. Nothing. It's the second time I have been called up.
"I am just doing my best and want to prove that I belong to the squad. And waiting to see what he does."
Botman has been a regular for the Netherlands Under-21s squad but he decided to withdraw from his most recent international call-up for the youth side to focus on getting into the Newcastle squad.
It was a bold decision that Under-21s boss Erwin Van de Looi criticised as not ‘convenient’ for Botman with the World Cup just around the corner. But upon reflection it is a choice that has been justified as it allowed Botman to cement his place in the Newcastle starting line-up and, in turn, put himself into the frame for a World Cup call-up.
And Botman has no regrets about choosing club over country on that occasion as he told The Gazette: “My feeling at the time was that I had to put some effort in myself to get into the [Newcastle] squad so I think it was a good choice for me.”