Newcastle United v Mainz 05: Pre-Season Friendly
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Eddie Howe praises 'very composed' Sven Botman after first Newcastle start

Newcastle United may have struggled against Mainz on Monday, but Sven Botman’s performance was a huge positive.

The 22-year-old started in a Toon shirt for the first time, playing alongside Fabian Schar then briefly Dan Burn.

Botman already looks a class above what we’ve already got with his ability and composure on the ball. However, it is difficult to fully judge him – he hasn’t really been tested over the past two friendlies.

But while Newcastle’s forwards failed to deliver, Botman certainly proved his worth. And his latest showing in Austria certainly caught Howe’s eye.

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What Eddie Howe said about Sven Botman

After the 1-0 defeat to Mainz, Howe spoke to NUFC TV and was asked about Botman’s performance.

“Sven has done very well. Really pleased,” Howe said.

“He looks very composed, very good on the ball, as we knew he would be.

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“He has settled in very well to how we want to play. I don’t think he had a lot to do today, but what he did do I thought he did well.”

Strong start in black and white for Botman

The £35million signing certainly looks the part, and has enjoyed a bright start to pre-season. However, there are bigger tests to come.

Newcastle face Benfica, Atalanta and Athletic Bilbao before the Premier League season kicks off. All three of those sides will present big challenges.

It will likely be the first chance we get to see Botman flex his defensive muscles, having been relatively untested in Austria.

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But Howe’s words are certainly encouraging, particularly about how he is settling in. It’s a difficult task swapping one country and one team for another, and he will need time to adapt to English football.

However, the early signs are promising. Botman was bought with his ability on the ball in mind, and he is already showing how good his passing range is. It will hopefully prove to be a bit of a weapon for us this season.

Next on the agenda will be proving himself defensively, which might be difficult against a strong Benfica side next week.

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