Steve Bruce revealed he spoke to Florian Lejeune about his comeback from injury, and said he has to wait until the perfect time to hand him his Newcastle opportunity.
The Magpies manager advised the French defender that after “a tough time” out, he will become “better mentally and physically” the longer he trains ahead of his first team return.
The Chronicle report Bruce said: “The longer he trains, the better mentally and physically he becomes.
“To have the injury like he had then come back for six weeks & have it again – he’s had a tough time.
“When the time is right let’s hope we can introduce him.”
While that is the right attitude to take over Lejeune, the same does not apply to Fabian Schar, who has still not been restored to the side, after missing three games through injury.
Fabian Schar should be back in the Newcastle starting lineup
Schar has been an unused substitute in the two games against Aston Villa and Manchester City, having regained his fitness, and quite why he has not been thrown back in – especially in light of Jamaal Lascelles’ long-term injury – is baffling.
Granted, Newcastle have only lost one of the games played in Schar’s absence, but in none of them have Newcastle kept a clean sheet.
Of course, Ciaran Clark has scored twice, and Federico Fernandez grabbed a goal at West Ham, but their main job is to prevent the opposition from scoring.
Newcastle cannot afford to concede at Bramall Lane tomorrow, and to have the best chance of keeping the Blades out, they need their best defender playing.
Simply put, Bruce must have Schar in the starting lineup. If he wants to keep faith with Clark and Fernandez, then Paul Dummett should make way.
And who knows, with the ability Schar has at getting forward, he may even be the latest defender to chip in at the opposite end of the pitch.