Florian Lejeune reveals his ‘anger’ at the Harry Kane tackle that put the brakes on his Newcastle career

Florian Lejeune
Florian Lejeune

Florian Lejeune feels he’s finally showing what he can do at Newcastle United – after “moving on” from Harry Kane’s reckless challenge.

Lejeune’s debut against Tottenham Hotspur on the opening day of the season lasted just 34 minutes.

At first, I was angry. We all make mistakes – we all commit fouls – but I think an apology would have been good, especially from such a great player.

Florian Lejeune

The defender – who will line up against Manchester United at Old Trafford this evening – was stretchered off after lengthy treatment following the tackle from Kane.

Kane – who was not punished for the challenge – never apologised to Lejeune, signed from Eibar in the summer for £8.8million.

Asked if he was surprised he didn’t get an apology, Lejeune said: “Yes and no.

“At first, I was angry. We all make mistakes – we all commit fouls – but I think an apology would have been good, especially from such a great player, the England captain.

“I was angry then, but now I have moved on.”

Asked if Kane should have been shown a red card, Lejeune added: “Yes.”

Lejeune was sidelined for more than a month with ankle ligament damage.

The 26-year-old said: “It was a difficult time, a very difficult time for me because I had only just arrived here, a new club and a new country and I was trying to establish myself in the team.

“I had prepared very well and then suddenly I got injured and I was very frustrated. I had to see a specialist, and then I worked really hard and I’m pleased that I’m now back in the squad.

“There’s a good atmosphere in the group here, so that helped me.

“What was difficult was not having any training and then coming back and having to train on my own, being with the physio on my own and going later to the training ground after everyone else.

“It was a hard time. But, at the end of the day, everyone was very good with me. I really feel as if I’m part of this squad.”

Lejeune doesn’t have a problem with the physicality of the Premier League.

However, the Parisien felt Kane crossed the line when he scythed him down.

“I was warned (about the physicality of English football) and so I expected it to be more physical than at the other clubs in France and Spain I had been to,” said Lejeune.

“But there are things you try not to do on a football pitch.

“Having said that, now all that is in the past. I’ll just work and work and try to understand how people play here. That’s my aim.”

Lejeune has started Newcastle’s last four games.

“I feel very good,” he said. “I’ve had a run of matches. I’ve worked really hard and am back in the team.

“Hopefully, I can get better and better.”

Lejeune will be up against Romelu Lukaku at Old Trafford.

“He’s a very good player who plays very well with his body so we’ll have to concentrate and defend in a very intelligent way,” he said.