Opinion: On-field leader’s return to fitness will be massive for Newcastle

Newcastle fans could soon be set to welcome back one of their defensive rocks and one of the stars of Rafa Benitez’s time at the club, the French rock, Florian Lejeune. The 28-year-old is currently sidelined with the second anterior cruciate ligament injury of his time at Newcastle, but he’s progressing well.

Steve Bruce was recently quoted talking about his defender, comments which can be found in the Shields Gazette, as he admitted: ‘It was remarkable the last time, his rehabilitation. We’re hoping after the international break he’s back on the grass’.

Before then going onto say: ‘That would be four-and-a-half months, which is remarkable. His knee looks good. He’s out there training. He sees a specialist this week and if he says yes, then he can go ahead and start getting out there.’

It’s hard not to echo Bruce’s sentiment regarding Lejeune either. Since he signed for the club back in summer 2o17 the big defender has featured 37 times, for the club and in those games the Magpies have won 12 times, giving them a win percentage of 32.4%.

However, when Lejeune is out of the side, which has happened 50 times in total owing to the injuries that he’s suffered, the club have won just 14 times, resulting in a lower win percentage of 28%, making it fairly clear that when the Frenchman is fit, the Geordies have a better chance of winning.

The rotation that his return will also provide will be key. Steve Bruce has continued in Rafa Benitez’s footsteps in playing three-at-the-back, and having Lejeune fit will relieve some of the pressure on the likes of Jamaal Lascelles, Fabian Schar, Paul Dummett and Federico Fernandez who have been tasked with holding the fort at the heart of the club’s defence.

This article was originally posted here