Florian Lejeune wants to be a France international

“I have a background which is different to a lot of footballers, as I did not have the chance to go to a training centre. I didn’t go to an official training centre, but that is why I succeeded – I had the mental strength to say I could succeed. I played with many clubs, met many managers and I think this experience is what really made me, and gave me my strength.

“The chance I had was to have a really normal childhood, with my friends and family, and grow up normally – not be closed in a training centre, with only footballers and talking only about football. I could grow up normally, and later on this helped me as I was able to really make the most of my youth.

“Of course it is in the back of my mind, even if I have never played for them yet (on playing for France). My progress is good, and I am here at a big club in Newcastle with a great manager who also asked me what my ambitions were and posed the same question. I told him I’d love to play for France. And so if I want to do that, I need to do better things in training and in games – I need to do well for my club. But for me, at present, the most important thing is to start for Newcastle and to put in good performances for the team.”