Newcastle United managed to win against Tottenham Hotspur, but many would agree that they haven’t made the best of starts to the new Premier League campaign. Losing 3-1 to Norwich City and drawing against a woeful Watford at home would be considered as underwhelming performances.
Next, the Magpies will travel to Anfield to take on league leaders Liverpool. Steve Bruce though could have some good news as long term absentee Florian Lejeune is closing in (Shields Gazette) on a return. The centre back has been out with a knee injury since April, but he has made terrific progress and is in line to return earlier than expected.
Bruce provides an update on Lejeune’s injury
Newcastle boss recently gave an update on him and said, ”He’s going along very nicely. “It was remarkable the last time, his rehabilitation. We’re hoping after the international break he’s back on the grass. That would be four-and-a-half month, 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.”
Before the injury troubles, Lejeune and Lascelles had formed a formidable partnership at the back for the Toon, and they were very stubborn defensively. The likes of Dummett, Fabian Schar and Federico Fernandez have filled in well in the absence of Lejeune, but once he becomes fit, he will be in contention to get back in the starting lineup.
How can Lejeune get back into Bruce’s plans?
The 2017-18 season was the season where he moved to the Tyneside club, and he soon managed to establish himself in the first eleven making 24 appearances in defence that season. Lejeune is known to be strong and committed in his defending, and his game is suited to take on the physical nature of the Premier League. The Frenchman is equally reliable in the air, and he should suit Bruce’s defensive plans.
It remains to be seen though who might make way at the back as Lascelles, Schar and Dummett are seemingly doing well. Dummett is more of a left-back who slotted in to play on the left side of the back three after Lejeune’s injury issues. So we might see Dummett taking his role back on the flanks and Lejeune might get in the lineup.
However, he is likely to find it hard to break into the team initially as Bruce might not want to chop and change the backline.