Newcastle manager Steve Bruce has ruled out an early return to the club for defender Florian Lejeune.
The Frenchman is currently on loan with Spanish outfit Deportivo Alaves in a bid to regain his mojo after struggling last season with injury.
The 29-year-old has had two serious knee injuries since joining the club in 2018, and the decision was taken in the summer to allow him to go get minutes elsewhere – which was to the surprise of some supporters.
Newcastle have not been as solid as they would like at the back this season, which has led to calls for Lejeune to be brought back early.
But Bruce is quite happy for him to stay put.
Asked about a possible recall, the manager said (via Shields Gazette): “No. The purpose of it was to go and play for the season.
“He’s playing week in and week out so I’m led to believe. Of course we keep an update on him. It would be nice for Shola (Ameobi), our loan manager, to go and see him, but with the problems (he can’t).
“The feedback (is that) he’s doing OK. He’s fit, he’s healthy, which is the important thing. I think it’s important that the kid still plays the games.”
£38,000-a-week star Lejeune (Spotrac) has made 16 appearances for Alaves so far, and is currently their third-highest rated player according to WhoScored, behind Ximo Navarro and former Magpies striker Joselu.
Lejeune needs to stay put
At the moment Lejeune’s loan spell seems to be going well.
He’s playing regularly which is the main thing, and hopefully the star can remain in the starting XI and help keep Alaves in La Liga.
Recalling him this month would potentially disrupt the momentum he’s been building, and subjecting him to the intensity of the Premier League would be a risk.