Newcastle United manager Rafa Benitez has confirmed that new signing Federico Fernandez will not be included in the squad to play against Tottenham at St James’ Park on Saturday.
The 29-year-old completed his move to Tyneside from Swansea on the last day of the summer transfer window on Thursday, but the opening game of the Premier League season has come too soon for him to feature.
Benitez confirms that Fernandez is fit, and his exclusion is simply down to him only arrived at the club less than 24 hours ago.
“We have more or less everybody fit. Federico Fernández is fit but he is not in the squad tomorrow. He came late and needs to get to know everybody,” he said, as quoted by Newcastle Chronicle journalist Lee Ryder on his personal Twitter account on Friday afternoon.
Rafa on availability: "We have more or less everybody fit. Federico Fernández is fit but he is not in the squad tomorrow. He came late and needs to get to know everybody." #nufc
— Lee Ryder (@lee_ryder) August 10, 2018
It makes sense to not include Fernandez in the matchday squad against Spurs, but it is not like Newcastle are desperate for him to play at the moment. Benitez is likely to start Jamaal Lascelles and Fabian Schar at centre-back with Ciaran Clark on the bench. Florian Lejeune is expected to miss a lot of football in the early parts of this season so he is not expected to feature for some time. Once Fernandez is ready to go, it will be interesting to see if he comes straight into the starting line-up due to his experience of playing in the Premier League with Swansea and international experience with Argentina. Schar will make his Premier League debut against Spurs if he plays, so it will probably hinge on how well he does. Tottenham will be a tough test, there’s no doubt about that, but this Newcastle team is more than capable of upsetting the London club.