TalkSPORT pundit Steve Harmison has lavished praise on Newcastle United centre-back Sven Botman.
Speaking on the Breakfast show today, the Magpies correspondent claimed a lot of the side’s success this season has been down to the Dutchman, who arrived on Tyneside this summer in a deal worth £35m.
“For me, one of the best centre[-backs], I know they spent a few quid on him, 30 odd million, [is] Sven Botman,” Harmison said.
“I know Holland have got a very, very good centre-back back pair, but Sven Botman is, he is going to be a superstar as a player and you know, Newcastle are third in the Premier League.
“Newcastle have got a chance of staying up there because of the defence that Eddie Howe has built, and you know the stability that he’s got: Nick Pope and the back four, they are keeping clean sheets for fun and largely down to the big Dutchman because he is a machine.
“He is a big lad, he’s 6 foot 5. Strong character, got a bit of pace, his persona on the pitch is infectious and he only wants to do is defend.
“I said this to you earlier and I’m going to get Man United fans hammer me for saying it, but I think he’s the closest thing I’ve seen to Nemanja Vidic since he left the Premier League.
“He’s a big strongman who wants to defend, but he can play as well.”
Harmison lavishes praise on Botman
Comparing the 22-year-old with the Manchester United legend is huge praise from the TalkSport pundit.
Coming into the Toon’s back-line this summer, Newcastle look incredibly solid with Botman at the helm.
Having conceded just 11 goals this term, Howe’s side have the best defensive record in the league alongside Arsenal.
This illustrates a huge contrast compared to this time last year, during which the Magpies went into the Christmas break 19th in the league table.
Although he’s still a youngster, Botman has demonstrated fantastic leadership and maturity since arriving on Tyneside.
His all-round physical attributes mean he is dominant in the air and strong in the tackle, and his positioning sets the defence up very solidly.
Therefore, with the level of ability already on show at St James’ Park, this is a truly exciting time to be a Toon fan.