Newcastle United defender Sven Botman has pulled out of the Netherlands’ Under-21 squad to focus on his club duties.
Botman is in the early knockings of his career at St James’ Park after making a £33.3million summer switch from Lille.
He’s started four of the Magpies’ first seven Premier League matches, but was left on the bench for the game against Bournemouth at the weekend as Eddie Howe favoured Dan Burn and Fabian Schar.
After Louis van Gaal overlooked Botman for the senior squad, he was due to face Belgium and Romania in a pair of Under-21 friendlies.
The Chronicle shared a video report on Twitter from Lee Ryder, who confirmed that Botman has voluntarily withdrawn from the squad.
He called it ‘great news’ for the Magpies because it reduces the chances of the defender picking up an injury.
But he also explained that the new signing is ‘taking a big risk’ because the decision might anger Van Gaal and harm his senior chances going forward.
He said: “His chances of going to the World Cup are pretty low, unless there’s a spate of injuries.
“The big risk now for Botman will be whether this has irked Van Gaal.
“In that event, if there was injuries, would he recall him because he’s walked away?
“We don’t know the full story as things stand, but the reality is Van Gaal is a tricky customer and possibly may not look kindly at this.”
You can definitely understand Botman’s decision.
It’s a show of commitment from the 22-year-old, who wants to establish himself as a starter for the Magpies after failing to fully convince Howe in the first few weeks of the season.
Perhaps if the Under-21s were trying to qualify for a major tournament, then his outlook would have been different, but there’s very little riding on their games this month.
And even if there is a chance that Van Gaal is ‘irked’, Botman knows he’s still young and has plenty of time to improve his international prospects.
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