Steve Bruce reveals his Florian Lejeune dilemma at Newcastle United

Newcastle United boss Steve Bruce has revealed his Florian Lejeune defensive dilemma.

Thursday, 21st November 2019, 12:06 pm
Updated Thursday, 21st November 2019, 3:47 pm
NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND - APRIL 06: The Newcastle United team check on Florian Lejeune of Newcastle United as Matt Ritchie of Newcastle United gestures for the medical team during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Crystal Palace at St. James Park on April 06, 2019 in Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

The Frenchman is back training with the United first-team having been out since early 2019 with a knee injury.

But Bruce must decide whether Monday night at Aston Villa is the right place to throw central defender in at ‘the deep end’, with just two reserve fixtures under his belt.

“Where we have got one or two back fit, we have lost one or two with the internationals,” said Bruce, who will be without Jamaal Lascelles and possibly Ciaran Clark at Villa Park.

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“The dilemma is, is he right? There comes a point, though, where the player can’t keep training and training and training. You have to throw them in at the deep end at some point, if that’s the right phrase.

“He is a good pro. He is first in, last to go. He has done everything he possibly can.

“He feels he is ready – and that’s the most important thing. If the player himself thinks he is ready – he knows his knee better than anybody. He has done all the minutes and is ready to go.”

Lejeune has been missing since suffering a second ACL knee injury in less than 12 months back in April.

The defender was operated on by Italian surgeon Pier Paolo Mariani, on the recommendation of then boss Rafa Benitez.

Fabian Schar is also expected to return to the starting XI against Dean Smith’s side, having missed United’s Bournemouth win with a knee knock.