Some positive news regarding Florian Lejeune surfaced this week, with Mark Douglas of the Chronicle giving an update that will make every Newcastle fan smile.
The elegant French centre back suffered the second anterior cruciate ligament injury of his Newcastle career back in April against Crystal Palace, only 8 months after suffering the same injury on the opposite leg last summer.
However, just like his first spell out, he is set to return to action far quicker than initially expected.
Here’s what Douglas had to say about the defender yesterday:
“He is due to return to light training in the coming weeks and could be back before November – a remarkable timescale considering it is his second serious injury in 12 months.”
Of course there is still some way to go before a return to the first team can be considered, but it is absolute testament to Lejeune’s mental strength and professionalism that he is once again defying the odds and is ahead of schedule with his rehab.
We have plenty of strength in depth at centre back, but in my opinion Lejeune is the best of them all, and one of the most underrated centre backs in the league.
The stats say it all in black and white. When Lejeune plays, Newcastle United are a better team. His ability to bring the ball out from the back, as well is his positional sense and aerial prowess saw him form an excellent back three partnership with Schar and Lascelles last season.
While Dummett, Clark and Fernandez never let anyone down when they play, it is that defensive trio that has worked so well in the past, meaning Bruce has a big decision to make when the Frenchman is fully fit.
Having two ball playing centre backs either side of the skipper also allows us to play further up the pitch, making us a complete different proposition to defend against.
Lejeune has been inspirational following his two previous returns from injury, he’s hoping he can do it a third time.