Newcastle United are hoping Sven Botman adapts to Premier League life quickly, but if things had gone differently he could have been a tennis player.
The 22-year-old moved to St James’ Park this summer, costing £35million from Lille. It ended a drawn out transfer saga, with Newcastle chasing Botman for the entirety of 2022.
But he’s a Magpie now, and getting ready for his first season of Premier League football. It looks like he has all the tools to be a hit in the North East.
He’s incredibly composed in possession, and can start attacks from deep with his quick and incisive passing. And he’s also a huge physical presence, which has led to comparisons with Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk.
Botman looks ready-made to be a Premier League defender, but he could have chosen a different path when he was younger.
Botman chose football over tennis
The summer signing spoke to the Daily Mail recently, and admitted that he could have chosen a different sporting career.
“I’ve never spoken about this, but I played tennis until I was nine,” he said.
“The Netherlands national tennis team wanted me to join. It could have been different, but I had to make a choice. I chose football.”
Botman also told the Daily Mail that he comes from a family of hockey players, but he preferred football.
Botman made the right decision
At the start of last month we were cheering on Newcastle fan Cameron Norrie at Wimbledon. In an alternative universe, he could have been facing Botman.
But Botman chose football as a kid, and thank goodness he did. Who else would we have relentlessly pursued for the entire year?!
Tennis’ loss is Newcastle United’s gain. He’s our biggest signing of the summer, and someone who will hopefully have a very long career on Tyneside.
The youngster is clearly adaptable when it comes to sport, and Eddie Howe will be hoping that is the case in football too. He’s left-footed and prefers to play as a left-sided centre-back, but there is the possibility that he could play on the right. That’s where he initially played in his first Toon appearance against 1860 Munich.
Whether it’s on the right or the left, Botman will be keen to make his debut this weekend. Newcastle kick off the new season at home to Nottingham Forest, where hopefully the Dutchman makes his first Premier League appearance.