The competition for places in the Newcastle United defence continues to grow with the Premier League season still young.
Only five games into the new campaign, Matt Ritchie has already been sidelined through injury, whereas DeAndre Yedlin has returned to training to challenge Emil Krafth and Javier Manquillo at right-back.
Fabian Schar, Jamaal Lascelles, and Paul Dummett have excelled in the heart of defence so far, starting each game in the league and leaving players such as Federico Fernandez and Ciaran Clark on the bench.
Steve Bruce has numerous different options available to him at St James’ Park, and his defensive ranks are about to become even stronger.
Florian Lejeune has been out of action since April with a cruciate knee ligament injury which required surgery, after picking up the setback in the game against Crystal Palace.
An injury report on the Chronicle website delivered updates on the fitness of sidelined players, with Lejeune making strong progress in his rehabilitation.
“He is due to return to light training in the coming weeks and could be back before November – a remarkable timescale considering it is his second serious injury in 12 months,” journalist Mark Douglas wrote.
The return of the Frenchman would leave Bruce with six central defenders to choose from this season, surely creating a selection headache for the boss.
Lejeune impressed for the Magpies before picking up the injury, featuring 12 times under Rafael Benitez in the previous campaign.
The 28-year-old averaged 2.1 tackles per outing according to WhoScored – the best average of his career so far. Lejeune also completed 1.8 interceptions and 3.7 clearances on average and looked solid alongside Schar and Lascelles when called upon.
Dummett has stepped up in the absence of Lejeune though and will force the predicament on Bruce, who will need to decide whether to stick with the impressive Welshman or make the tough decision to bring back in the French enforcer once fully fit.
Either way, with Lejeune, set to return to training in the coming weeks, Bruce is set for a selection dilemma when each of his defenders are fully fit.