According to The Telegraph, Newcastle believe they have a player with the potential to become ‘one of the world’s best’ centre-backs in Sven Botman.
However, Luke Edwards has revealed the ‘one weakness’ Toon scouts picked up on during trips to watch the 22-year-old in action.
It’s reported that Steve Nickson – the club’s head of recruitment – felt Botman sometimes struggled against ‘small, nippy strikers’ who dragged him in tight, then used their pace and mobility to burst clear of him.
It must be said that the Dutchman is said to be ‘deceptively quick’ over long distances, suggesting he can really motor once he gets going, however it will be interesting to see how the big man copes against diminutive forwards with a real burst of speed.
This clip below highlights this perfectly, with him beaten by a nippy forward after being dragged out wide:
Minor weak points aside, the same report goes on to discuss some of the impressive traits Nickson picked up on while watching him in France.
It’s believed we were impressed by how few mistakes he makes, also picking up on his ‘mental strength’ and composure – to things that aren’t all that common in commanding young centre-backs.
His imposing frame, dominance in the air and ability on the ball is well documented, however it’s interesting that The Telegraph also highlight how two-footed he is, with the left-sided defender not afraid to use his right peg.
With this in mind, it’s no wonder Eddie Howe is believed to be ‘open’ to the idea of starting two left-footed centre-backs next season, suggesting the 6ft 5′ giant could easily play on the right side if needed.