Eddie Howe has lavished praise on Newcastle United defender Federico Fernandez.
The Argentina international played 79 minutes of Newcastle’s 1-1 draw with Norwich City in midweek.
When the Magpies got Ciaran Clark sent off early on, Howe entrusted the 32-year-old to restore some order to the hosts’ defence.
And given tthat Newcastle didn’t concede until the final 10 minutes, you could say that the South American did a very good job on this front.
Howe has labelled Fernandez – signed by Rafael Benitez in 2018 – as ‘outstanding’ on the night and gushed over the big man’s leadership credentials.
He told a press conference, via United’s Twitter account: “I thought he was outstanding. A model professional who prepared well, trained well and was ready for his moment when it came.
“I really love him as a person and he’s going to be invaluable. His leadership qualities are there for all to see.”
If there’s one silver lining to Clark’s moment of madness, it might be Fernandez’s return as a big player for Newcastle.
At 32, he’s no spring chicken, but he also has a wealth of experience.
United are rock bottom of the Premier League table and as things stand, are looking good value to be relegated unless something changes.
But maybe, just maybe, the former Napoli powerhouse can be the hero that Newcastle need this season.