LEGACY was the buzzword of this summer’s Olympics and Lecsinel Jean-Francois last night revealed how he was touched by the London games.
The Sheffield United defender, who returned to training following serious knee injury on Monday, spent long periods of his rehabilitation at Clairefontaine, the French Football Federation’s renowned academy before returning to Bramall Lane.
Despite rubbing shoulders with Arsenal’s Laurent Koscielny and Abou Diaby during his stay, it was a chance encounter with his adopted country’s women’s team which made the greatest impression on Jean-Francois.
“They really loved their football,” he told The Star.
“There are some guys who play only because of the money but the women players, even though they hardly earn anything, they were so dedicated to what they were doing.
“They were probably even more concentrated than a lot of men; very patient about how they went about their work for the Olympics.
“I learned a lot from them and was very humbled by their attitude.”
Bruno Bini’s team, beaten by eventual silver medallists Japan en route to fourth place, were not the only inspirational figures Jean-Francois encountered during one of his forays home.
“Abou and Laurent were there,” he added. “It was good to see them. We know each other from our younger days. Funnily enough, the only thing we didn’t talk about was football.”
Jean-Francois, who was born in South America before moving to Europe, started his career with Paris St Germain B before spells with Sedan, Falkirk and Guingamp culminated in a move to Danny Wilson’s Swindon Town.
One of Wilson’s first acts after taking charge of United 16 months ago was luring the 25-year-old to South Yorkshire, only for his progress to be halted by a ligament problem sustained during March’s League One fixture with Oldham Athletic.
Having advanced ahead of schedule in his battle for fitness, Jean-Francois insists he could be declared available for selection when Paul Dickov’s charges cross the Pennines again in a fortnight’s time.
“In my mind I am looking at mid-October or November to be back,” he said.
“I have begun working with the rest of the lads and next week, hopefully, I will be doing full-contact sessions too.”