Speaking to The Chronicle, the Frenchman – who is currently out on loan at Alaves – has reflected on Steve Bruce’s “crazy” decision to play him FOUR times in 11 days so soon after his return from a second ACL injury.
Needless to say, Lejeune struggled badly in two of these games, making a string of mistakes in home defeats to Leicester and Everton over the festive period.
As a result, he played just 20 minutes of football over the next six months, with these starts being the last he’s made under Steve Bruce and paving the way for a loan move to La Liga this summer.
Here’s what the 29-year-old has had to say about it all in an in-depth interview with The Chronicle:
“To play four games in 11 days after the second operation seven or eight months previously, I had never seen that in my life.
“I was very tired physically and mentally. I didn’t have time to recover and ended up making mistakes on the field.
“What happened happened and I did not play many more games. I couldn’t show what I did in previous years under Rafa when I did quite well in the first two seasons.
“When I came back from my first cruciate, I played one game a week and did well.
“Four games in 11 days was crazy after two cruciate injuries.”
We had lots of defensive injuries at the time, but that doesn’t excuse what a careless and costly decision it was for Steve Bruce to play a recently injured player FOUR times in just over a week.
Not only did it harm Lejeune’s fragile confidence levels after so long out, he put him at risk of another injury, doing anything but protect him after months of rehabilitation following surgery.
This isn’t the only time Bruce has shown his naivety when it comes to protecting his players, with him keeping on an injured Karl Darlow a few weeks ago, often overplaying Saint-Maximin last season and openly admitting that he’d allowed Jonjo Shelvey play with a knock prior to surgery last week.