‘It was a dream’ - Ex-Newcastle United defender signed by Rafa Benitez reflects on move to St James’s Park
After sealing a move to Tyneside from Eibar in 2017, the former Manchester City man had a frustrating start to life at Newcastle after sustaining an ankle-injury from a poor tackle by Harry Kane - one that went unpunished by referee Andre Marriner.
But the Frenchman worked hard to get back to fitness and became an integral part of Rafa Benitez’s side - before yet more injury woe after suffering a cruciate ligament injury ahead of the beginning of the 2018/19 season.
Lejeune would recover from this but would suffer another bad knee-injury less than four months after his return to action.
Even though his time in the north east was plagued by injuries, Lejeune has revealed it was a ‘dream’ to play in England under Benitez.
Lejeune told AS: “It was a dream to play in England and when Benítez called me for Newcastle I didn’t hesitate,”
“At the beginning, it was all good, but in pre-season I injured my cruciate muscle. I had the operation in Rome and came back quite quickly.
“Then I played 13 or 14 games in a row, and I broke the one in the other leg. It was a tough blow.”
The 31-year-old, who now plays for La Liga side Rayo Vallecano, would eventually be let go permanently by Newcastle in 2021, leading many supporters to ponder what might have been for Lejeune on Tyneside had he been able to stay injury free.