Eddie Howe didn’t start Sven Botman in the opening game of the season, instead opting to leave the Newcastle defender on the bench.

The 22-year-old did make his Toon debut against Nottingham Forest, coming on in stoppage time to replace Bruno Guimaraes. He received a brilliant reception from the Toon Army, and each time he touched the ball was met with cheers.

Botman would have hoped to have gone straight into the starting XI after his £35million move from Lille. However, Howe thought differently, and instead started with Fabian Schar and Dan Burn.

Newcastle United v Nottingham Forest - Premier League
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It was a decision that paid off, with both centre-backs performing very well. Schar was particularly brilliant, having opened the scoring with an absolute screamer from distance.

Howe made a brave decision in naming his most expensive summer signing on the bench, but the Toon manager has now explained why he did it.

Howe on Botman not starting

The Newcastle boss spoke to NUFC TV after the victory, and was asked about his decision not to start Botman.

“Sven’s done very well in pre-season, as have all the centre-backs and I include Jamaal Lascelles in that,” he said.

“So it was a very tough call to pick two. I went with the guys who played the majority of the back end of last season. I thought Fabian and Dan formed a really good partnership.

Newcastle United v Atalanta - Pre-Season Friendly
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“I think Sven will benefit from the time he’s watching and learning about the Premier League and seeing how quick, how dynamic the league is.

“It’s very similar to when Bruno arrived. A period of watching and learning will certainly help him and he’s been excellent so far. I was really pleased to give him his debut right at the end.”

Bruno approach should pay dividends for Botman

It was a brave decision by Howe, but one that probably made sense. It would have been harsh to drop one of Burn or Schar. The pair were sensational last season after the local lad arrived from Brighton.

Botman will hopefully be a mainstay in the starting XI for years to come, but slowly introducing him is probably for the best.

Newcastle United Pre-Season Tour
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Forest were an unknown quantity. They are a newly promoted team with a huge number of new signings. Sticking with the tried and tested combination of Schar and Burn made sense, and it paid off.

Howe has history of making decisions like this, taking his time last season to introduce Bruno into the starting XI. He was made to watch from the bench initially before getting his chance. The Brazilian hasn’t looked back since, and is consistently putting in excellent performances.

His time watching as a substitute will have aided his development, and Howe is hoping it will have the same effect on Botman. If it does, we could soon have one of the best young defenders in the Premier League.

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