Newcastle United head coach Steve Bruce is set for a huge injury boost, as Florian Lejeune is nearing a return from his left anterior cruciate ligament injury, according to The Telegraph and Sky Sports’ injury analyst Ben Dinnery.
The French centre-half has been ruled out of action since suffering the blow to his knee during the Magpies’ 1-0 defeat to Crystal Palace in April, just eight months after sustaining damage to his right ACL (Chronicle).
Lejeune was able to return to competitive football just four-and-a-half months after sustaining the serious injury to his right knee following an operation carried out by Italian surgeon Professor Pier Paolo Mariani, who he returned to see following the blow to his left knee.
Anterior cruciate ligament injuries tend to require six-to-nine months out, but Lejeune may soon return in a much shorter time frame for the second time, as he is due to visit a specialist later this week to secure the all-clear to step up his rehabilitation.
Gaining the all-clear would be a major stage in Lejeune’s recovery and chances of making a first Premier League appearance under Bruce, as it would allow the 28-year-old to ramp up his work at Newcastle’s training facilities.
Bruce recently noted that he is hopeful of seeing Lejeune back on the fields at Darsley Park over the course of the international break, stating via quotes by The Shields Gazette: “He’s going along very nicely. It was remarkable the last time, his rehabilitation. We’re hoping [that] after the international break he’s back on the grass.
“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 [with the first-team].”
Having Lejeune to call on would be a huge boost for Bruce, as the Frenchman was one of Newcastle’s best defenders last season once he made his return, with more successful tackles per ninety minutes (2.1 from 3.2 attempts) than this season’s regulars Paul Dummett (1.8 from 2.5) and Jamaal Lascelles (1.0 from 1.1), according to data collected by WhoScored.
Lejeune also made more interceptions (1.8 to 1.3), blocked more crosses (0.4 to 0.2) and passes (0.9 to 0.5) than Lascelles, and played more accurate long and short balls than any centre-half who featured for Newcastle in the league in 2018/19 with 6.9 and 29.7 respectively.
Similar numbers this season would see Lejeune rank second for successful tackles to Fabian Schar (3.3), joint-second for interceptions, and top for short and long passes made.
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