Florian Lejeune survived his 45-minute return to competitive action in the Under-23s match today against Middlesborough. Florian played just the first half as scheduled before being substituted for Oisin McEntee.
The lads fell behind 2-0 in the first 35 minutes but fought back to claim a draw with second-half goals by Jack Young and Oisin McEntee. Lejeune’s replacement scored 3 minutes into stoppage time to salvage a point for the hosts.
The big news, of course, is the return of the 28-year-old Frenchman who has been out since April with his second cruciate injury in less than a year.
Florian spoke to NUFC TV after his outing. Here is some of what he had to say about his return to the pitch:
“I’m happy. After six months, I’m happy to play again. So now I’m just happy to keep going and play with the first team and train.
“It was very difficult. I worked for six months every day very hard. Now I’m enjoying to play again.
“I think it’s exciting to play the game because training is different. So not only excited, but I felt a little pressure before the game. I’m just excited and happy to play again.
Florian was also asked about the support he has received over the past six months, and this is what he wanted to say to all the fans:
“I received a lot of messages over the six months so thank you very much.”
Here is a little clip of Florian from the game tonight, where he tries to impersonate his compatriot Allan Saint-Maximin.
? @lejeune_florian looked sharp as he made his return from an anterior cruciate ligament injury in tonight's Premier League 2 clash with @Boro. The defender completed the opening 45 minutes at Whitley Park. #NUFC pic.twitter.com/dlDD4ni45d
— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) October 28, 2019
This is an excellent first step for Florian, who should be in contention to get back in the first-team squad sometime next month.