Florian Lejeune’s long journey back from his second knee injury came to a dramatic climax last Saturday against Crystal Palace. The Frenchman made his return and played the full ninety minutes in an emotional win, which saw Miguel Almiron bag his debut goal for Newcastle.
It was a magnificent sight to see Florian back on the pitch. To us, it looked like he’d played all season long. He didn’t seem to have any rust to shake off.
However, Lejeune had a different take on the game. Speaking to the Chronicle, Florian described his experience coming back after being out for over eight months:
“It was difficult for me as it was my second injury. I worked very hard to come back. I have been out for eight months, I hope things are normal now and I can play.
“It was strange because the first 15 minutes on the pitch all felt new again. After that, I felt I could do more. I didn’t think it would be my best game but for my first game after eight months, I’m happy.”
The strange feeling that Florian describes will have been all too familiar to him. He went through the same thing last year while returning from his first knee injury.
However, like last year it didn’t take him too long to get comfortable. He reminded us all what a classy player he is. Though, Lejeune didn’t think he was at his best. He was happy to get through the game with a little help from the fans.
“It wasn’t the best game but we tried to keep the clean sheet. It was an opportunity for us. It was an amazing end to the game.
“I’m happy for the game and the three points. The stadium was incredible against Palace.
“The first three or four balls were important for me. To feel the tackle again, it is important for you in the head.
“After that, I didn’t think about the injury and could just play. The crowd helped me through.”
Steve Bruce has some decisions to make on Florian over the next 10 days. He’s short at center-back but will not want to overdo it with the 28-year-old just coming back.
We think Bruce will give Florian his second start today and maybe keep him out on Saturday in the hope that Paul Dummett can return.