'You can't force a player to have an operation' - Howe

Sven Botman arrives at a Newcastle United match
[PA Media]

Newcastle United manager Eddie Howe says Sven Botman was advised to have surgery on a knee injury earlier this season, but the defender wanted to try to play on.

The Dutch centre-back was out for almost three months with a knee problem before returning to action in December.

However, Botman is expected to miss the next six to nine months following surgery to repair a damaged anterior cruciate ligament.

"There is quite a complex story around Sven since he got his knee injury," Howe said. "Initially he had a partial tear of his ACL. We sought specialist opinion and there were conflicting reports on what he should do next.

"Ultimately, our medical team advised him to get surgery and he, himself, wanted to carry on playing. We'll 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 the injury eventually, but I've seen several players with that injury come back, carry on playing and stay fit."

Howe continued: "Of course the medical team advised Sven and all they can do in that situation is make a recommendation. Ultimately, the player felt his knee was good. Sven felt his knee was strong and he felt confident in it. He did a lot of work to get back, he sought specialist opinion and they helped him.

"As always in these situations, we don't have the benefit of hindsight - I wish we did."

Asked later in Friday's media conference about whether he would be more reluctant to allow a similar situation to happen again in future, Howe said: "You can't force a player to have an operation, no matter what an opinion may be internally.

"The player has to allow his body to be operated on and Sven was very certain in his mind what he wanted to do. Once you have that position, unless you communicate with the player and make him change his mind - which Sven was adamant his knee felt good and he wanted to carry on - I think we have to support him then and move forward with the process."