Newcastle: Eddie Howe makes 'surprising decision' on £35m star at St James' Park

Newcastle United head coach Eddie Howe on the touchline

Newcastle United manager Eddie Howe’s decision to only start Sven Botman in four games is ‘quite surprising’ following his big-money move from Lille, according to journalist Dean Jones.

The Magpies have made a steady start to the 2022-23 season and sit in tenth place, although Botman is yet to assert himself on his new side.

What is the latest team news from Newcastle?

Howe welcomed the 22-year-old to St James’ Park in the transfer window after a £35 million fee was agreed with Lille.

Botman penned a five-year-deal in the North East to add greater depth to Newcastle’s defensive options but is yet to become a mainstay in the side, starting four Premier League games.

In their season opener against Nottingham Forest, he made a cameo in the dying stages of the match before being drafted into the starting XI for the following three games with Brighton, Manchester City and Wolves.

However, he returned to the bench for their trip to Liverpool at the end of August and while he went on to start against Crystal Palace, he was left on the bench for the visit of Bournemouth last weekend.

When Howe’s former side came to town, he opted to start with a back two of Dan Burn and Fabian Schar.

The manager later suggested that the leadership abilities of Burn are the reason he is currently ahead of the new signing in the pecking order.

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What has Jones said on Botman?

Jones says he is surprised that Botman is yet to establish himself in the Newcastle starting lineup.

But he has also praised Howe’s bravery for choosing to start Burn instead.

Jones told GIVEMESPORT: “It was a brave call and Eddie Howe seemed to indicate it was Dan Burn’s leadership skills that gave him the edge for the last game. Botman has only started four games and I think that’s quite surprising.”

How are Newcastle’s other signings performing?

Alexander Isak was the headline arrival this summer, signing on a club-record £63 million deal, and has scored two goals in his first three appearances.

Howe also splashed £10 million on goalkeeper Nick Pope from Burnley, with the shot-stopper becoming an instant favourite having kept three clean sheets in seven games.

Left-back Matt Targett made his loan move to Newcastle permanent and has started four of Premier League games, despite suffering a leg injury.

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