Eddie Howe has offered a staunch defence of Dan Burn after the Newcastle full-back came in for criticism following his recent performances.
Burn was taken off after 64 minutes of last Saturday’s 4-4 draw with Luton with the home fans at St James’ Park chanting the name of substitute Tino Livramento long before the former Southampton man was introduced.
Read our other football news stories here:
Wilder: Sheffield United must take criticism on the chin
England get Finland, Republic of Ireland and Greece in Nations League draw
Crystal Palace boss Hodgson understands fans’ fury
Criticism of Burn has continued on social media this week but Howe was eager to stress the player’s importance both on and off the field.
He said: “I understand it happens. Everyone has an opinion. Dan has been such a big player for us. He’s pivotal to how we play in lots of different ways. That’s why he was such a big miss when we lost him to injury.
“He’s also a huge leader in the group, a very big presence. He’s been an incredible signing for me and much better than I could have hoped.
“He’s still helping galvanise the group. I can’t speak highly enough of him.”
Livramento was signed for £40million last summer – one of many big-money arrivals following the club’s Saudi Arabian takeover – and is expected to come into the side when Newcastle visit Nottingham Forest tomorrow.
Howe is a big fan of the 21-year-old, who is predominantly a right-back but can also play on the left.
He added: “He’s an outstanding player. That’s why I fought so hard to sign him.
“His primary position is right-back and he’s fighting with Kieran [Trippier] but he will no doubt get his time and hopefully play a lot of games for this club.
“I love him at left-back as well. I think he’s done extremely well there. He’s been incredible in that position.”
🎙️ Eddie Howe speaks to the media ahead of tomorrow’s trip to Nottingham Forest:
“Anthony [Gordon] hasn’t trained this week but we don’t think the injury is serious. We hope he is back sooner than later. Alex [Isak] won’t make this game, we hope he won’t be too far away, we… pic.twitter.com/YwXD2ltuzs
— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) February 9, 2024
Newcastle have a couple of injury concerns ahead of the trip to the City Ground with winger Anthony Gordon and striker Alexander Isak both unavailable.
“Anthony hasn’t trained this week, we don’t think it’s serious, we’re hopeful he’ll be back sooner rather than later,” said Howe.
“[Alexander Isak] won’t make this game. Hopefully he won’t be too far away, but he doesn’t have a fixed return date. His injury is not as serious as we first feared.”