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The Competition For Places Could Get Brutal If Recent Fitness Trend Continues

Florian Lejeune has given an expansive interview to nufc.co.uk about his plight back from a second devastating knee injury.

During the interview, Florian hinted at the possibility that he is close to a return to action. This is what the Frenchman said about the next few weeks of his rehabilitation:

“I’m due to go back to Rome next week to get the green light. Then after that, it will be another week or two until I am training back with the squad.

“I’ve been kicking the ball for quite some time now. I began doing a bit of ball work after the first month in Rome. During that second month, I was working with the ball and starting to kick out on the pitch that the clinic has.

“Then, of course, it’s very enjoyable for sure to come back here and get back out on the pitch. It’s always another step forward. I’m not far off making my comeback.”

This is some positive news as Lejeune is one of the best natural defenders in the squad. He also is very comfortable with the ball at his feet and has ta good passing range. Having two ball-playing defenders in the team could provide a boost to Newcastle’s often uninspired attack.

Florian Lejeune and Allan Saint-Maximin

Of course, it would mean dropping either Paul Dummett or Jamaal Lascelles to make way for Lejeune. Both Paul and Jamaal have played well this season so it will be interesting to see how Bruce fits Lejeune into the first eleven.

There are also Federico Fernandez and Ciaran Clark who have never let Newcastle down when they have played. So that’s six capable players for those three center-back positions.

Bruce may also consider transitioning to a flat back four as he did at times against Brighton. That would make the competition at the back all the more fierce. It would also allow Bruce to try some other options to get the anemic attack going.

With players like Matt Ritchie, DeAndre Yedlin, Andy Carroll, Allan Saint-Maximin, and Lejeune making there way back to full fitness, the fight for places is going to get intense all over the pitch.

We hope it will help keep performance levels high and bring some consistency to this team. Though that is not always that case as we have seen at times this season.

Jonjo Shelvey has not raised his game in the absence of Sean Longstaff. We also expect DeAndre Yedlin to get some games at right-back when he returns. Emil Krafth and Javier Manquillo have not laid a strong enough claim to that position just yet.

20 comments so far

  • Jail for Ashley

    Sep 23, 2019 at 11:40 AM

    Comment #1

    The repost I’ll spare will I 😀

  • IrishRob

    Sep 23, 2019 at 11:40 AM

    Comment #2

    Fitness trend is almost always on a downward curve so I wouldn’t worry about competition.

  • IrishRob

    Sep 23, 2019 at 11:40 AM

    Comment #3

    Yes plz spare us Jail. Sound!

  • Jib

    Sep 23, 2019 at 11:51 AM

    Comment #4

    Jail’s project is to say the same thing 999 different ways

  • bettyswallocks

    Sep 23, 2019 at 12:02 PM

    Comment #5

    As we all feared before the season started Bruce’s credentials were far from impressive and it is now clear for all to see that his tactical astuteness leaves a lot to be desired.

    If we have a fully fit squad with Caroll and Gayle available then any half decent manager would surely be able to keep us up.

    The role of Bruce with regards to training the squad and setting the team up for games I don’t think is totally down to him and I think he is more of the old fashioned motivator as SAF was at Manure.
    The guys that work with the players are supposed to be more modern evolved coaches who implement the tactics with the players after discussing with Bruce. They seem not to have much of a clue either.
    Sorry to harp back to Rafa but him and his coaches worked like a well oiled machine to fix problems encountered in previous games.

  • Jail for Ashley

    Sep 23, 2019 at 12:02 PM

    Comment #6

    IrishRob spitting out his dummy because he never got to write his hugely entertaining “first”

  • Reilly

    Sep 23, 2019 at 12:06 PM

    Comment #7

    Luke Edwards

    They can’t play expansive football, they don’t have the players. It’s going to be back to basics, keep it tight, try and snatch a goal from somewhere.

  • martoon

    Sep 23, 2019 at 12:06 PM

    Comment #8

    Jail I took the 1 under par comment to be based on expected points based on who we played rather than for the season. However saying that I would have expected to beat Brighton and Watford at home but lose to Spurs so therefore I would say we’re ‘3 under par’

  • Peter Beardsley

    Sep 23, 2019 at 12:10 PM

    Comment #9

    Here’s two formations I’d love to see! I want to see Shar in def midfield, he has passing ability, can go forward and obviously strong defensively. He would be steel sitting in front of a defensive line but would be freed up a little more to be offensive. It would bring more dynamism to out engine room. Something we’ve certainly been lacking.











  • #BoycottAshley ( OP)

    Sep 23, 2019 at 12:17 PM

    Comment #10

    Some of you rate our players so highly we should be in the top 3.

  • Lee Charnley Bunga Party

    Sep 23, 2019 at 12:24 PM

    Comment #11

    Of course Shelvey wants to be here! What other club is going to pay him 70k a week?

    His next contract will certainly be on less wages and will be for a championship club !

    His opposite number at the weekend Mooy is streets ahead of him in all ways , work rate , pressing and most importantly what he does on the ball

  • #BoycottAshley ( OP)

    Sep 23, 2019 at 12:29 PM

    Comment #12


    Dwindling numbers, fans in disarray and the club wont sell away tickets to club members.

    How to make friends and influence fans by Ashley, cutting off your nose to spite your face…

    Hes probably upset at all the stick the away fans give him, poor man.

  • bettyswallocks

    Sep 23, 2019 at 12:30 PM

    Comment #13

    Peter Beardsley………… Are you the real Peter Beardsley or a wannabe?

  • Nicky the ball tosser

    Sep 23, 2019 at 12:42 PM

    Comment #14

    Definitely got a capable 11 and bench when fully fit. 5 good players out of the starting 11 v Brighton. Still, we were very poor.
    Manquillo… Hayden…Longstaff….Ritchie.
    ……….Joelinton…Carroll…St Max….

  • martoon

    Sep 23, 2019 at 12:42 PM

    Comment #15

    #BoycottAshley ( OP) @12 – Is this policy just for this away game or some of the others? I would say if it is just this game then it’s maybe something that Chelsea are insisting on – I guess it makes it a lot easier to track down people causing bother! If it’s all away games then definitely a club policy.
    I’m not defending the club but if you’re (not you personally but the mag writer) going to write an article like this then you need to find out all the facts!

  • carltoon

    Sep 23, 2019 at 12:46 PM

    Comment #16

    I’m sure Mooy got subbed. They passed us off the park but only one real shot on target. Which Scher saved off the line.

  • Bills Son Is Back

    Sep 23, 2019 at 12:46 PM

    Comment #17

    We are woefully short in CM of a player who can run with the ball and get the oppo moving out of position.

    Shelvey, Hayden and even Longstaff are all players who don’t run with the ball and they play too many balls square or back to defenders who end up hoofing it up field.

    With Lejeune close to returning I would again make a case for moving Schar into a CM role.

    I think he could be a revelation and totally change the dynamic of the team. He is great at running into space, has an eye for goal, a good range of passing and can get challenges for the ball in the air and in tackles in CM.

    The problem moving Schar out of a back three is that Dummett and Lejuene are left side players which would mean Lascelles playing on the right, not centre, where he struggles.

    I’d go for a 451 as follows;

    Manq Lascelles Lejuene Dummett
    Atsu Hayden Schar Longstaff ASM

    Atsu and ASM pace allows that to quickly move to 433 in a game, or start as a 433, and also to play 4141 with Schar in front of the back four if we are under the cosh.

    I’d love to see Schar in CM given a try.

  • Jib

    Sep 23, 2019 at 12:50 PM

    Comment #18

    Aaron Connelly came on for Aaron Mooy in the 70th minute

  • Bills Son Is Back

    Sep 23, 2019 at 1:01 PM

    Comment #19


    saw your post about playing Schar in CM after I posted.

    One thing though…

    How can you leave out Dummett for Willems??

    Dummy is our player of the season so far and the best defender we have by a mile.

  • boltonmagpie

    Sep 26, 2019 at 12:22 AM

    Comment #20

    Whoever we pick where are the goals coming from. At least with Rafa we would not (often) get badly turned over. If we had played City the same week Watford did I fear it could have been a double figure defeat!!


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