There was some positive news last night, as Florian Lejeune made his comeback for the U23’s.
The French centre back is on his way back from his second cruciate ligament in the space of a year, and played the first 45 minutes as we came from 2-0 down, to draw 2-2 in thanks to goals from Jack Young and then an injury time strike from the wonderfully named Oisin McEntee.
Here’s some brilliant footage of the classy centre-back stepping out of defence with the ball, following by his chat with NUFC TV after the game:
It will be a huge plus to have him back, and indeed so far his Newcastle has suffered more than one set back.
Lejeune was injured thanks to a horror tackle by Harry Kane on his debut against Spurs in August 2017. Last summer he ruptured his cruciate pre season, and was initially ruled out for the season but remarkably came back in January. Sadly he suffered the same injury in the opposite leg in April during a home game with Crystal Palace, and is set to complete an equally impressively quick come back, hopefully in the next few weeks. The man is bionic!
On both previous occasions, his return has coincided with an upturn in results and performances, which actually isn’t that coincidental. The Frenchman is a class act, defensively and on the ball. His ability to bring the ball out of defence, and switch play quickly with his long, raking cross field balls is a huge asset to the team.
It could also make a huge difference to how we play tactically, as we played some of our best football last season with him and Schar as the wide centre backs, as their ability on the ball pushed us 15-20 yards further up the pitch.
Let’s hope he can have an impact on his return and give us a much needed boost at both ends of the pitch.