Newcastle United were dealt a major injury blow on Saturday when centre-back Florian Lejeune picked up another knee injury that saw him leave the field in some discomfort.
Despite Lejeune being replaced by Paul Dummett at the stage, his absence for the rest of the campaign could present the perfect opportunity for Federico Fernandez to introduce himself to the Newcastle faithful again.
The 30-year-old defender joined the Magpies in August last year from Swansea City on a two-year deal but has been in and out of Rafa Benitez’s team for the majority of the season.
Fernandez played a number of games at the start of the season but since the turn of the new year, Benitez has opted to keep on him on the bench rather, while there have also been a few games where he wasn’t in the matchday squad. But now, Benitez’s hand could be forced and it might not be a bad time of the season to give Fernandez another shot at first-team football and let him grow more comfortable in the Premier League.
The Magpies struggled in the early months of the season and were quite vulnerable in defence where Fernandez had a couple of difficult games to show his worth. At his best, the former Napoli ace can give the Magpies one of the best rearguards outside of the top six in the Premier League.
It will, therefore, be an excellent testing period for Fernandez to see if he truly has what it takes to make a real impact on this Newcastle team and if he could develop into a regular starter in the future, who could help Benitez establish an organised and structured defensive unit.
Newcastle fans, how big a miss will Lejeune be? Do you back Fernandez to replace him? Join the discussion by commenting below…