This was only the 30-year-old’s third start in the league this season, but he’s played a key role in each, bagging two assists and a goal across our draw with Wolves and wins over West Ham and Bournemouth.
Not only has he had a hand in 3 of our last 5 goals, he’s defended superbly, leaving Steve Bruce hugely impressed.
Speaking to BBC Radio Newcastle’s Matthew Raisbeck after the game, here’s what he had to say about the Argentinian defender:
“I thought Fede was absolutely magnificent.
“He won every ball in the air and he was terrific.
“I’m a centre-back, so you’re always pleased when you win the match and you can chip in with the odd goal, but the performance and the platform it gave the team was key.
“For the first 20-25 minutes we were a bit all at sea, so it was important to address that – and they stuck at it, and did it.”
The former Swansea skipper was left out of Steve Bruce’s 18-man squad against both Man Utd and Chelsea just a few weeks ago, but he’s benefited hugely from Fabian Schar’s injury and done an outstanding job in his absence.
At times on Saturday we were struggling to deal with the pace and power of Josh King and Callum Wilson, but the experienced Argentine put in a monstrous second half display to keep both quiet. He didn’t put a foot wrong and bullied them – both on the ground and in the air.
Both he and Ciaran Clark looked like 5th and 6th choice centre-backs whose careers on Tyneside threatened to fizzle out, however both have stepped in and been arguably our most influential players over the past fortnight.
With Fernandez’s contract due to expire next summer as things stand, I think it’s time the club looked at handing him a one or two-year extension.
After all, has he ever let us down once since signing for the club last summer?