Florian Lejeune in line to return before Christmas
Newcastle United manager Rafa Benitez could have two of the Magpies' most-consistent defenders back fit and available soon enough
Florian Lejeune could return to the Newcastle United side before Christmas as the Frenchman continues to make rapid progress following a serious knee injury.
The 27-year-old Frenchman suffered knee-ligament damage during a pre-season training session in July, an injury which usually rules players out for between six and nine months.
Yet the centre-back has been training with the Magpies first-team squad over the past fortnight and, should he come through the next two weeks unscathed, then Benitez will recall him to the United side - little more than four months after Lejeune was struck down by the injury.
Lejeune's rapid recovery was made possible by Benitez's decision to send the Frenchman to Rome, where Professor Paolo Mariani - who is renowned for his ability to help players return to play swiftly following knee injuries - successfully operated on the centre-back.
In theory, Benitez insists Lejeune is fit enough to play at Goodison Park on Wednesday night
, but the United manager wants to make sure the Frenchman has a significant amount of training behind him before he returns to Premier League action. The pre-Christmas fixture against Fulham could be Lejeune's return match, though Benitez will not rush the Frenchman back.
"He’s doing full training sessions," Benitez said during his pre-Everton Press conference after he was asked when Lejeune will return to the side.
"Could he play against Everton [if I needed him to]? Yes.
But is this the time to put him on the pitch? No. I want to see him in a couple of weeks training with the team.
"He has the strength and is tackling, but we are talking about an injury that is normally six months, and this is just four months."
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