EDDIE Howe has clarified the circumstances that led to Sven Botman's latest injury setback, with the Newcastle defender having undergone surgery on his knee last week.

Howe has revealed that Botman made the decision not to have the procedure in September after scans revealed he had suffered a partial tear of his anterior cruciate ligament.

Newcastle medics recommended to the Dutch defender that he should go under the knife earlier in the season but he opted against getting surgery and played on - only to then suffer a further injury in the recent FA Cup defeat to Manchester City.


Botman has now had the operation and faces nine months out of action.

Howe said: "You can’t force a player to have an operation. Ultimately our medical team advised him to get surgery; he himself wanted to carry on playing.

“We always try to guide and help the players, but ultimately it’s their bodies and they have to make the final decision. Unfortunately he succumbed to injury eventually.

"He now has a long road ahead of him, the operation went well. We hope he comes back in a better place. Now we support him and help him back."

Botman's long absence might now force Newcastle to look to sign another centre-half in the summer.

Howe said: "It's certainly something we'll have to be aware of, of course. We'll have to look at the squad and see the depth we have in that position and then make a decision. It's too early to say what we will or won't do."