From Sports Direct to French Connection - Lejeune becomes 200th Premier League Frenchman

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The centre-back stepped into the history books 25 years after Eric Cantona became the first Frenchman to lace his boots up in the modern top flight

Florian Lejeune’s Premier League debut might have been short lived, but it was also a landmark one.

As the centre-back, who signed from Eibar this summer for €10 million, turned out for Newcastle at St James’ Park against Tottenham, he became the 200th different Frenchman to appear in a Premier League match. He followed in the footsteps of Eric Cantona, who was the only representative of the nation in the competition’s inaugural year.

A flood of players have since crossed The Channel to play in England, among them David Ginola, Thierry Henry and N’Golo Kante, who have, like Cantona before them, all won the PFA Players’ Player of the Year prize.

Indeed, only Englishmen account for more players in the history of the league.

It was fitting that Lejeune was playing for Rafa Benitez’s side as he made history, given that Newcastle’s contribution of 27 different French players represents more than any other club in the Premier League. 

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The former Villarreal defender, however, lasted only 34 minutes before he was replaced due to injury.

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