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Opinion

Newcastle United – It’s just a move to the left

2 months ago
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Exciting times at Newcastle United.

With Kieran Trippier, Chris Wood, Bruno Guimaraes, Dan Burn, Matt Targett and Nick Pope all signed up in 2022, Sven Botman is set to join them in the next few days.

Lille and Newcastle United having agreed the fee and the 22 year old Dutch defender set to arrive on Monday for his medical before putting pen to paper.

The team and squad are building up nicely, although some Newcastle United fans are still easily confused…

With the imminent arrival of Sven Botman, I have heard more than a few NUFC supporters saying ‘I see Fabian Schar is now set to start the season…’

For what it is worth, this is how I see Newcastle United’s first choice eleven next season, assuming Ekitike also comes in.

Pope or Dubravka

Trippier, Botman, Burn, Targett

Guimaraes, Joelinton, Shelvey or Longstaff or Willock

Ekitike, Wilson, Saint-Maximin

I find it amusing that so many Newcastle fans assume that Sven Botman arriving, automatically means Dan Burn won’t be in the starting eleven.

This is Dan Burn who was an absolute revelation last season, we knew he was at the very least a steady Premier League level defender BUT he was outstanding. In that half season he was the best central defender Newcastle United fans had seen in a long time. Certainly at least since Coloccini’s stand out 2011/12 season when he made the PFA team of the year.

That was over a decade ago now.

I do really like Fabian Schar and he played well last season, certainly once paired with…Dan Burn.

However, the idea that Eddie Howe would play Schar ahead of Burn is laughable, in my opinion.

The reaction of some Newcastle fans is based on the belief that two left footed central defenders won’t be paired together. It is a strange one, as I have never heard anybody say the same when two right footed ones are in the same team in the middle of defence. Fans might say that ideally it would be one of each BUT don’t see two rights making a wrong, if you know what I mean.

It is interesting when you look at that first eleven above for next season, of the 14 options I mention, apart from Botman and Burn, the only other left footed player is Matt Targett.

Nobody seems to see it as a problem that there are no left footers in the rest of the team either, whether it is in the midfield, or out wide. Right footed ASM playing on the left not seen as an issue by fans, although Chris Wood might have one (an issue) with Saint-Maximin always cutting in on his right and never getting down the line and getting crosses in.

Indeed, the only other left footer to get any significant game time was Miguel Almiron and when he did, Eddie Howe played him on the right, so once again some sympathy for Wood, when it came to so few decent crosses coming in from that side as well.

Right footed Ryan Fraser did play on the right to accommodate ASM but his preferred position is also on the wrong (left) side of the pitch.

From what I have seen of Sven Botman, he looks a very confident footballer as well as a very good defender, I very much see him as able to come into the team and play on the right, alongside Dan Burn.

As for those who think Newcastle will sign Botman AND another first choice (right footed) central defender this summer, that just isn’t happening.

In January I think Eddie Howe may well have wanted two new first choice central defenders but Dan Burn has changed that, he did arrive in that last window and has made the position his own.

If more money is to be spent…and I believe it will be. Then as well as Ekitike (or an alternative if he doesn’t come), I think Eddie Howe would be strengthening other parts of the team / squad, rather than adding to the arrival of Botman in central defence.

I’m really looking forward to seeing Burn and Botman playing alongside each other, it might be radical but that is just the way I roll!

(***I am not left footed / handed / anything, just in case you wondered if there was a hint of bias here…)

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