Meet Newcastle United's new 6ft 4ins defensive recruit
At 6ft 4ins, you really can’t miss Ludwig Francillette.
And photograph of the defender stood by the pitch at St James’s Park went viral on social media long before he actually signed for Newcastle United in the summer.
It was thought that Francillette, unidentified at the time, was a first-team signing. The hope is that he will one day progress to the senior squad after being placed with the club’s Under-23s.
Who is Francillette?
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Francillette spent time with Dijon early in his career and has also represented Guadeloupe internationally at youth level. More recently, he played for AS Quetigny Football, a regional club in the sixth tier of French football. The 20-year-old – who doesn’t even have a Wikipedia page – came to the club as an unknown. He said: "Some scouts spotted me, and I'm here now.”
What kind of player is he?
Francillette is strong and quick, and also good technically. He has quickly adapted to Premier League 2 football, though his rawness is apparent. Playing two games alongside Florian Lejeune, on his way back from long-term injury, has helped him. He said: “We speak all the time in French, so it’s been really good for me.”
He went on: "There’s a difference between Regionale 1 and in England. It's not too different, maybe more aggressive and there's a lot of running. I like English football very much.”
Has Francillette settled on Tyneside?
Francillette speaks good English, and that has helped him settle on and off the pitch.
“I’m really enjoying it here,” he said. "All the guys have been really nice with me, and helped me to adapt to playing for the club and with the language. It’s feels good in Newcastle. All the guys are nice. The people are nice. I’m good now and where I want to be. I’m happy to be here."
What next for Francillette?
Francillette needs more time – and more Under-23 football. A loan move could follow. He’s made a positive start to his career at Newcastle. He’s stood tall for United, though he won’t get any taller. Francillette said: "I'm 6ft 4in, but I think I won't grow any more!”