Florian Lejeune has started the last three Premier League matches alongside Jamaal Lascelles.
Forced off after only half an hour of the opening game v Tottenham, the Frenchman’s return from injury and introduction to the team has been another reminder of just how strong Newcastle are in the centre-back position.
Apart from a moment of madness when gifting a penalty at Southampton, Florian Lejeune hasn’t really put a foot wrong.
A bit of a strange route has led the defender to the Premier League, as despite now being 26, playing in La Liga last season for minnows Eibar was his first year playing in any top tier.
In fact, in his latest interview, Florian Lejeune has explained how that route to English football’s top tier was even more unusual, as rather than being on the books of a major club as a kid/teenager, he instead trained and played for a number of minor/amateur French clubs.
Eventually progressing to lower league professional clubs in both France and Spain.
Despite this alternative career path, Lejeune still harbours hopes of playing for his country.
If he can stay in the Newcastle team and impress in the Premier League, then no reason why he can’t be a late developer for both club and country.
Florian Lejuene talking to official match programme (v Bournemouth):
“I have a background which is different to a lot of footballers, as I did not have the chance to go to a training centre.
“I didn’t go to an official training centre, but that is why I succeeded, I had the mental strength to say I could succeed.
“I played with many clubs, met many managers, and I think this experience is what really made me, and gave me my strength.
“The chance I had was to have a really normal childhood, with my friends and family, and grow up normally…not be closed in a training centre, with only footballers and talking only about football.
“I could grow up normally and later on this helped me, as I was able to really make the most of my youth.
“Of course it (playing for France) is in the back of my mind, even if I have never played for them yet.
“My progress is good and I am here at a big club in Newcastle with a great manager, who also asked me what my ambitions were and posed the same question. I told him I’d love to play for France.
“And so if I want to do that, I need to do better things in training and in games.
“For me, at present, the most important thing is to start for Newcastle and to put in good performances for the team.”