Ben­itez play­ing it safe with Le­je­une on re­turn from in­jury

Sunderland Echo - - Sport -

New­cas­tle United man­ager Rafa Ben­itez has of­fered a fit­ness up­da­teon­in­jured­de­fend­erFlo­rian Le­je­une.

The French­man suf­fered a knee in­jury at the end of June that was ex­pected to rule him out for much of the sea­son.

But the cen­tre-half is back out on the train­ing pitches at Ben­ton, just FIVE months af­ter suf­fer­ing the in­jury.

Ben­itez ad­mits Le­je­une, who was one of the club’s star men last sea­son, could play this week­end, when Wolves travel to St James’s Park, but he wants to take his time with the player.

“He’s do­ing full train­ing ses­sions. Could he play to­mor­row? Yes,” said the Mag­pies’ man­ager.

“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 more than six months, and this is five months.”

Ben­itez will have to do with­out fel­low de­fender Fabian Schar on Sun­day, with the Switzer­land in­ter­na­tional sus­pended.

That al­most cer­tainly means a de­fen­sive reshuf­fle by Ben­itez, away from the five-man back­line who im­pressed at Ever­ton.

“We had to do it as we have some play­ers sus­pended. We had to man­age things,” he said of his mid­week switch back to three cen­tral de­fend­ers.

“We have to say it was a sat­is­fac­tory point.

“It could be dif­fer­ent but we have to give credit to the play­ers as the ap­pli­ca­tion was ex­cel­lent.

“We are do­ing fine but this is the Pre­mier League. Next we have Wolves and we have to con­cen­trate as we did in this game.”

Flo­rian Le­je­une.

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