This is why Sven Botman missed Newcastle United friendly

Newcastle United kick-started their preparations for the new season with a win over Geateshead - but there was a notable omission from their side.

Here, we round-up all the latest stories that have emerged today surrounding Newcastle United:

Gateshead triumph

Newcastle United defeated Gateshead 5-1 in their first pre-season match of the season.

Sven Botman (Photo by PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA/AFP via Getty Images)

A brace from Miguel Almiron and goals from Joelinton, Sean Longstaff and Matt Ritchie secured the Magpies victory.

Eddie Howe picked two separate teams for the clash at the training ground with only youngster Kell Watts featuring for the full match.

Watts was partnered by Jamaal Lascelles in the first-half before playing alongside Dan Burn in the second.

Fellow academy graduates Elliot Anderson and Matty Longstaff also played as they aim to force their way into Howe’s first-team plans next season.

New signings Nick Pope and Sven Botman didn’t feature against Gateshead and watched on from the sidelines alongside Bruno Guimaraes, Fabian Schar and Chris Wood having all been granted extra time off following their international commitments.

Former Newcastle United players Adam Campbell, Tom Allan and Owen Bailey featured for the visitors who had Magpies loanee Dan Langley in goal during the first-half.

Gateshead are of course managed by Mike Williamson who spent five years at Newcastle as a player.

Mertens reports

Leeds and Newcastle United are reportedly ‘keeping tabs’ on former Napoli striker Dries Mertens this summer.

Mertens had spent nine years in Naples but was released by the club earlier this summer.

The striker, who turned 35 in May, is currently without a club but, according to Il Mattino, has admirers in the Premier League.

Mertens scored 148 goals in 397 appearances for Napoli after joining as one of Rafa Benitez’s first signings at the club in 2013.

Hudson-Odoi recommendation

Former Leeds United man Noel Whelan believes that Newcastle United would be a good fit for Callum Hudson-Odoi if he was to leave Chelsea this summer.

Hudson-Odoi has been linked with a move to Tyneside recently and Whelan believes it could be a good move:

“It’s really important that he gets out this summer. Whether it’s a season-long loan or a permanent deal, it would probably suit Newcastle.” Whelan told Football Insider.

“He can find that confidence, belief, and motivation again through more game time if he does make this move.”