Steve Bruce has hinted that tomorrow’s trip to Sheffield United will come too soon for Florian Lejeune – but hopes to bring him back ‘when the time is right’.
The Frenchman has been back in first-team training for several weeks and has started two games for the U-23’s in that period.
Many expected him to return to the squad for the trip to Aston Villa or clash with Man City on Saturday, however the centre-back was left out of Steve Bruce’s squad in both.
There’s been no setback, but Bruce clearly feels he needs longer in training to become better ‘mentally and physically’ before he throws him back into the first-team fold:
“I had a chat a week ago with him.
“The longer he trains, the better mentally & physically he becomes.
“To have the injury like he had then come back for six weeks & have it again – he’s had a tough time.
“When the time is right let’s hope we can introduce him.”
Thankfully he’s not been missed, with all five of our other centre-backs stepping up superbly when called upon.
Even in Schar and Lascelles’ absence, the likes of Fernandez, Clark and Dummett showed once again how capable they are on Saturday, putting in solid performances to help us earn a hard fought draw over Manchester City.
Lejeune may well be ready, and Bruce’s comments slightly contradict what he said a few weeks ago (he said there’s only so long you can train and it sometimes gets to a point where you need games), however you could not blame him for being protected given what he’s been through over the past 18 months.