I refer not to Callum Wilson who in the absence of Jamaal Lascelles wore the armband on Tuesday. No, I refer to Federico Fernandez who came off the bench following Clark’s calamity and arguably nicked the man of the match award.
It is astonishing that in a defence that has struggled all season he hasn’t been given more game time. Yes, I know he’ll be thirty-three next February but seriously is there a better defender at the Club? Remember this is a player that was capped thirty-two times for Argentina and was part of the 2014 World Cup Final squad.
Consider what Eddie Howe said about Fernandez after Tuesday’s game.
“He’s been the ultimate professional. He’s a real leader of the group and a respected figure. He proved today he’s an outstanding player. I haven’t seen too much of him yet but I was delighted to give him the opportunity and I thought he played very well.”
With no one else shining in a mediocre defence perhaps it’s time to put Fede’s experience, knowledge and no nonsense straight forward defensive standing to the test. It would seem after Howe’s comments a logical move and to make him Captain may also be a clever idea.
Alongside him it has to be Fabian Schar who apart from his last-minute howler on Tuesday also played well with his first half run from defence carrying the ball outstanding. These two look made to play alongside each other.
If Howe is going to play a five at the back then I’d even consider very strongly Isaac Hayden for the other centre back position. That would give us much more flexibility in ball playing as well as tough defenders as I honestly think Lascelles and Clark are gone.
Also, what about Jamal Lewis? Who’d have thought a left-back would play well at left-back! True he’s often lacked a bit defensively but again he was very solid on Tuesday and surely deserves aa run in the side.
These changes may not work but we have to find a way to get some much-needed points before January comes starting with Burnley on Saturday. After what’s gone before Howe could do a lot worse than keeping Lewis in the starting XI alongside ‘leader’ Fernandez.