With Jamaal Lascelles sidelined due to an ankle injury, Federico Fernandez had to step in to make his debut against high calibre opposition.
The Argentinian defender impressed many, including the Chronicle journalist Chris Waugh who thought the 29-year-old didn’t put a foot wrong in the 2-1 defeat to Chelsea:
Was really impressed with Federico Fernandez today. Not easy making your debut at the heart of a five-man defence, but he was vocal throughout & marshalled the defence well. Also read the play & made some good interceptions, & was good in the air in both boxes. #nufc
— Chris Waugh (@ChrisDHWaugh) August 26, 2018
Fans on Twitter were in agreement with the reporter’s assessment:
For me he keeps his place next to Lascelles.
— Burnsie ????NUFC????️ (@BenArfaChance) 26 August 2018
Have to say that back 5 did really well mate. Well impressed with new signings.
— steve wraith (@stevewraith) 26 August 2018
Thought Fernández and Schär were excellent yesterday.
I wouldn’t mind the constant defending if, on the rare occasion we had the ball, we were a bit more composed with it rather than aimlessly booting it to nobody.#nufc
— Them???? (@JonnyMartin1) 27 August 2018
Agree Andrew, my man of the match was Fernandez, looked solid!
— Wayne Green (@WayneGreen2) 26 August 2018
He looked solid. As did the whole defence bar one misskick at the end.
— Craig Futers (@misfitvandal) 26 August 2018
He was solid ????
— NUFC Archive (@NUFC_Archive) 26 August 2018
Some supporters are intrigued to see whether he will be playing alongside our captain or as a possible replacement:
Just hope he’s not a replacement for Lascelles??!!!!!
— Andre Bouleau (@Localhero81) 26 August 2018
I agree. I think he will be great alongside lascelles aslong as the fall out with rafa wasn't too serious.
— Matthaus (@GeordieDubravka) 26 August 2018
Fernandez did show some good leadership skills which isn’t surprising considering he was captain at Swansea. However, I would temper my praise by saying playing in a deep line, five-man defence is a lot easier than playing in a four.
He was relegated with the Swans last season, and while he definitely had a promising start yesterday, I think I will reserve judgement until I have seen him play more regularly in the first team.