The 28-year-old Frenchman has been sidelined for a lengthy spell with a knee injury, but could be in line for return to action in the coming weeks, and Kelly has suggested that he has caught Steve Bruce’s eye during his recovery.
Writing in a Q&A for the Chronicle, he said: “It will be interesting to see what happens when Florian Lejeune comes back into the mix in the coming weeks.
“Bruce has been impressed by his dedication and we all know he helps give that backline a different dimension when it comes to bringing the ball out and with his pinpoint passing.”
Having Lejeune back can only be a good thing, truth be told. The Frenchman established himself as part of a very handy defensive unit alongside Jamal Lascelles and Fabian Schar last season, and you had to feel sorry for him when he suffered such a horrific injury in the latter stages of the campaign. Now he is back, however, he could well be a key player for the Magpies once again. His averages of 2.1 tackles and 3.7 clearances per game last season, as per Whoscored, as well as a match rating of 6.95, show just how solid he was, while a massive 6.8 long balls per game illustrate just how handy he can be when it comes to relieving pressure and getting the Toon Army on the attack. The sooner he is back, the better for everybody.